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Ethical Issues for Practice and Research in Congregate Settings During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cases and Commentaries

Banks, Sarah and von Köppen, Marilena (2021) 'Ethical Issues for Practice and Research in Congregate Settings During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cases and Commentaries.', Ethics and Social Welfare, 15 (3). pp. 328-335.


This paper comprises two cases illustrating ethical challenges experienced by people working with residents and staff in congregate settings (residential homes) during Covid-19. In congregate settings restrictions were more stringent due to residents’ vulnerability and high risks of the virus spreading. In the first case, a UK social worker recounts his proactive advocacy on behalf of a young woman living in residential care, enabling easing of some restrictions for her. In the second case, a German researcher discusses how limits on entering nursing homes resulted in postponing and then ending a participatory research project, with the researcher regretting loss of contact with a home. Following each case is a commentary from an outsider’s perspective. Both authors foreground their responsibilities to care about people facing difficult circumstances and to take action for change. This suggests that situated approaches to ethics, focussing on particular people, roles and relationships in context (such as the ethics of care and virtue ethics) are helpful in understanding the ethical challenges described. The cases illustrate the extra cognitive and practical effort required to engage in ethical reflection on the implications of new circumstances, in which taken-for-granted ways of being, thinking and acting are difficult or impossible.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 August 2021
Date of first online publication:09 August 2021
Date first made open access:24 August 2021

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