Social Work and Hospice Ethics: Words Matter

“Ethical responsibilities flow from all human relationships.”

Code of Ethics,
National Association of Social Workers

An apparent convergence exists between social work values and hospice values. This coming together is interesting and worth some further exploration and discussion. Values exist at the core of professional ethical behavior. Values and ethics have a direct effect on professional practice. They are represented by key words and phrases. The key words coincide in these two aspects of health care, in the social work profession and the hospice care movement. They also diverge.

Both sets of values emphasize the central importance of human relationships. Both are explicit about the worth and dignity of the individual. Both agree that respect for the individual is a critical idea. Both hold self-determination as a fundamental concept. Both sets of values are aimed directly at meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. Cultural competence and knowledge of social diversity are viewed as vital to high quality service provision. Both clusters place emphasis on advocacy for the population served and the style of service provided. Political action is included in advocacy. Research, education, and outreach are embedded in core values. Accountability to patient, family, community, and profession is required. Integrity is explicit and expected: behavior in a trustworthy, honest, and responsible manner….

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#Ethics, #Hospice, #ReaGinsberg, #SocialWork


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