Ethical challenges in residential care facilities during COVID-19: Leaders' perspective

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelPeer review


BACKGROUND: Person-centred care is based on ethical principles, and it is regarded as high-quality care. Care of older persons should embrace person-centredness. During the pandemic, older persons were highlighted as a vulnerable group at risk of developing serious illness and/or suffering death from COVID-19. Several pandemic-related measures were introduced in residential care facilities (RCFs) to reduce this risk, which influenced the possibilities to lead and provide a person-centred care.

AIM: This study's aim was to explore ethical challenges in relation to person-centredness during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the perspective of leaders in RCFs.

RESEARCH DESIGN: The study had a qualitative descriptive design.

PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 leaders working in RCFs in Sweden. Data were analysed using conventional content analysis.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: The study was approved by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority. The participants received oral and written information about the study and gave written consent. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

FINDINGS: The overarching ethical challenge was Having to disregard the individual needs of the person in order to protect the group and society. This included (a) Protecting the group versus promoting the older person's autonomy; (b) Being forced to lead care based on uncertainty instead of evidence; (c) Striving to provide dignified care but lacking opportunities; and (d) Going far beyond ordinary duty and endangering one's own and the staff's health.

DISCUSSION: The ethical challenges meant being torn between the person's individual needs and protecting the group and society, with clashing ethical principles as a consequence.

CONCLUSIONS: The leaders faced ethical situations resulting in undignified and compromised person-centred care, which has implications for stakeholders and management who need to address the work conditions in RCFs.

TidskriftNursing Ethics
StatusPublicerad - 2024-juni-06


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