Issues of ethics and care in psychiatric home care: Multidisciplinary perspectives revealed through ethnographic research
Home Health Care Management and Practice, 19(2), 94- 103, February 2007
Bonnie A. Sturm, Ed.D., R.N. College of Nursing
This article focuses specifically on the ethically related issues that members of a multidisciplinary team at a home health care agency faced in providing care to clients with mental illness. This evidence was obtained through ethnographic research, utilizing the methods of participant observation, interviews and analysis of agency documents. Findings are discussed in relation to principles of ethics and include the health care providers’ experience of moral distress when acutely aware that many patients were not receiving necessary care. In a financially restrictive managed-care environment, higher quality services for those with ongoing needs for assessment and treatment are often not adequately provided for. Multidisciplinary home care team members share their experiences in the care of persons with persistent mental illness, including the topics of compliance, safety, autonomy and spiritual values. They serve as an excellent resource for understanding ways to work toward more effectively meeting this population’s needs.