Ethical principles and codes of practice can provide guidance in day-to-day practice. Analyse Peter’s situation in the case study and come to a conclusion about what would be an appropriate response.
This essay will analyse the ethical principles and code of practice in relation to the case study of Peter, a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and will suggest a course of action for Peter’s situation based upon the application of these principles and the code. It will do this by examining the term ‘ethics’ and will focus on four ethical principles found to be relative to the kinds of ethical issues and challenges met within health and social care settings, these will be applied to the case study. Peter’s situation is that of a man, who, at the request of his family, unhappily (but apparently necessarily), moved to Parkside Manor, a small residential care home. Of late Peter’s condition of Alzheimer’s disease has advanced and he has become progressively uninhibited. His behaviour has caused the staff to question Peter’s placement at the care home, as some of the other residents are beginning to become troubled and distressed by his behaviour. Some staff feel that with the number of residents needing attention, Peter’s needs require more time than they have to give. However Peter’s family are resolute in their decision for him to remain at Parkside. ‘Ethics’ are defined as ‘the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it’ (Collins, 2006, p535). Individual values develop over time through socialisation, upbringing and experiences. These values when viewed on a personal level, guide individual actions. Individuals working in the health and social care setting also hold professional values derived from professional training and ideology. Decisions are made using both personal and professional values and all decisions will have an ethical dimension. Historically health and social care practitioners have been directed by principles and guidance, enabling them to develop what is described as a professional morality. Codes of practice have long been seen as regulations guiding practice, with clear standards of conduct (General Social Care Council, 2010, p 4). These usually include some exclusion’s such as disclosure of information but they mainly describe expected forms of conduct. In areas of health and social care ethical principles are used along with codes of practice to guide and enhance the decision-making process. These principles are related to a sense of doing the right thing or that which is moral and with ideas of what is good and bad practice (K217, Book 4, p28).This idea can be problematic and can be viewed both objectively and subjectively. If viewed from an objective point of view, who should be trusted to know what is the objective truth? If subjective, who is the one whose opinion should be listened to? Questions such as these are often at the core of dilemmas. Professionals working within health and social care environments do not just deal with decisions based upon the right and good. Consideration should also be given to ‘ethical dilemmas’, these are situations when two choices are apparent, both equal in morality and ethics (K217, Book4, p29). Pattison and Heller (2001) suggest, ethics and value issues thread their way through normal, daily health care practice, the interpretation of which is open to more than one explanation (K217, Offprints, p131). Although principles guide actions, there is still a need to assess a situation and devise an appropriate response. This assessment and response derive from an individual’s values and training as much as from principles. Ethical principles are important in the field of health and social care. Practitioners need to have the ability to make informed, ethical and justifiable decisions relating to the individuals in their...
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