Many of us are working in organizations that have temporarily closed or are replacing in-person meetings with clients to … To skillfully navigate this recurring issue, social workers must first recognize the most common forms of ethical problems in their field. Worried that the chat history might be captured, the service user ended the session and asked to return to the worker he had first contacted. The social work code of ethics are designed as a … A Nigerian social worker reported that during the pandemic there was no cash withdrawal from the banks and therefore the relatives of hospital patients were unable to pay for services in the hospital. An ethical dilemma is when a social worker must choose between two options where there is a conflict of ethical principles. While resources are available to help social workers facing ethical dilemmas, education is the best way to prepare for these common situations. A social worker in Switzerland in a residential home for people with learning disabilities reported having a tormented conscience when deciding to follow policies and not responding to residents’ requests for hugs, “when some colleagues are doing this”. A UK social worker discussed the removal of structure and routines caused by the pandemic, giving the example of a 15 year-old girl living in a local authority children’s home who was used to managing anger by frequently walking around neighbourhood. Registered charity number: CHE-109.240.290, www.ifsw.org/covid-19-the-struggle-success-and-expansion-of-social-work, www.ifsw.org/iv-webinar-ethical-challenges-for-social-workers-during-covid-19, www.ifsw.org/ii-ifsw-africa-webinar-covid-19-social-work-practice-ethical-dilemmas-and-human-rights-concerns, Meet Social Workers from around the world. The ethical dilemmas that social workers encounter in practice can be placed Into three broad categories: direct service to individuals and families, design and implementation of social welfare policy and programs, and relationships among professional colleagues. Social workers look to improve the challenges that our society faces, but it’s important to consider the challenges that they face personally in this profession. Many social workers and clients are becoming increasingly affected by and involved in the political process, and this can present challenging ethical dilemmas. Consider if a decision that might be ethically right in normal times (e.g. Some ethical challenges and problems facing social workers are specific to particular countries; others are common. A German worker with an international organization with a social justice focus reported that his agency had decided to shift the distribution of food for people on the street to a food truck. The various professions in these IHCS teams come at relevant ethical issues from different value stances and different levels of power. And it is anti-empowering”. Then she was restricted to once a day. Ensure provision of necessary hygiene equipment and safety measures to enable social workers to carry out their roles in a way that protects both workers and service users. The study was accepted by both government and the profession as providing a … Decades from now, social workers are likely to recall 2020 as the year their lives were transformed by COVID-19, aka coronavirus. These challenges are inevitable. In practice, it is sometimes necessary for social workers to make a judgment call, and one needs to be sure they are choosing the best options to resolve issues wisely when encountering an ethical dilemma. You have to decide what’s best for your client and your practice. She felt close to the family and wanted to be supportive. Social Media and Social Work: The Challenges of a New Ethical Space. A social worker in Brunei commented on the need for more inter-agency cooperation: “I understand my country’s system is not as efficient compared to others, lack of resources unlike other countries. A social worker in Spain who was working with women experiencing serious issues relating to prostitution, sexual abuse and gender violence had been available 24 hours a day to facilitate women´s access to the emergency centre. Clinical social work supervisors face unique ethical challenges when they work in IHCS. The social worker asked: “Do I have to wait till Monday to follow the established procedure with which I do not agree?”, In the Netherlands several social workers questioned the overpowering emphasis on avoiding risks related to physical health, with one employed by the municipality asking: “to what extent am I allowed to trust my common sense and professional sense and not follow these guidelines?”. Ethical dilemma examples in social work include: One has to face a bitter challenge to do a social work in this perspective. Intensify efforts to collect evidence from social workers and social work organisations about conditions for social workers and service users, and advocate strongly with employers and governments for recognition of social work roles and better guidance for maintaining services. Continue to develop more detailed ethical guidance for social workers and their employers, and create spaces for peer support and learning in relation to tackling ethical dilemmas in practice. Social workers from several agencies in Hong Kong reported providing financial and other rewards, better protective equipment and recognition in the media for frontline staff, including those required to carry on home delivery services or work in a shelter, in order to recognise their contribution and maintain services. Trying to balance compassionate accountability, be a part of a criminal legal response to domestic violence, help create safety for survivors and victims AND navigate a global pandemic ethically has been overwhelming”. A French social worker stressed the need for careful reflection about different types of distance, and that distance imposed by regulations may be problematic, whereas ‘ethical distance’ that involves stepping back to allow people to make their own decisions is important. “However, my team leader gave me the green light: she has absolute confidence in my judgement. The field of substance abuse poses unique challenges to social workers, including the constant need to reaffirm the social work value base, the importance of shaping service delivery to incorporate social work values, and the task of recruiting and educating others in the critical importance of ethical decision-making. Many older people in the rural areas are illiterate and religious. prioritising service user choice or confidentiality), might now be regarded as ethically wrong (since heightened risk means principles of service user welfare or the public good have to come first). Prioritising service user needs and demands, which are greater and different due to the pandemic, when resources are stretched or unavailable and full assessments are often impossible. She was especially concerned about violating Alice’s privacy and confidentiality. Ethical Challenges and Dilemmas in Organizations A Case Study Approach The business of the modern world, for better or worse, is business. Brescia University’s online social work degree programs can help, providing the necessary training for individuals who choose to pursue careers where they can assist those in need. Social workers have also identified how power differentials have been exposed when opportunities arise for team decision making. But the one-way traffic of social help causes dependency, erosion of community and networks. Then, they can establish a method for gently guiding clients to a more productive course of action in a way that minimizes impact on morale. Ethical Challenges of Military Social Workers Serving in a Combat Zone Catherine A. Simmons and Joan R. Rycraft Often faced with ethical challenges that may appear extraordinary, military social workers comprise a distinctive subgroup of the social work profession. A social worker in Puerto Rico commented: “we are running into many cases of depression, anxiety and homeless people, without medical plans and without family members. Please give more details of a particular situation you found ethically challenging. However, some challenges arise from the social worker’s own internal experience as she interacts with client systems. There’s no question that COVID-19 is providing unprecedented challenges to social workers worldwide. Social workers are of course bound to confidentiality, meaning they cannot discuss client business with anyone else. Unique ethical challenges involve the myriad of dual relationships inherent in the field and include dilemmas stemming from recovering workers attending AA meetings with clients or with their supervisors, or the changing role of some individuals to service providers within the very programs in which they had recently been clients. 8 Ethical dilemmas that make healthcare a tough industry to work in Taking the oath is as easy as lip service, carrying it out is the hard part of the job. These values and principles remain constant, but how they are applied in practice may change in new circumstances. Ethical dilemmas leave social workers using careful consideration to choose between two unwelcome alternatives relating to human welfare (Banks, 1995). The social workers involved nevertheless decided to evaluate the situation in the community, with health precautions, because they did not want to make biased judgments. Ethical challenges included the following: maintaining trust, privacy, dignity and service user autonomy in remote relationships; allocating limited resources; balancing rights and needs of different parties; deciding whether to break or bend … As a social worker, it is not a work of one, it needs togetherness and cooperation from different agencies to help with the decision making”. An Australian social worker reported that service users did not have access to masks and were at risk of contracting Covid-19 when attending medical and other appointments. Ethical Challenges and Coronavirus By Frederic G. Reamer, PhD March 2020. E) all of the above. Creating and maintaining trusting, honest and empathic relationships via phone or internet with due regard to privacy and confidentiality, or in person with protective equipment. Ethical principles are standards of a group, organization, or profession that direct courses of action on behalf of the profession’s agents – in this case, social workers. The ethical challenges have just gone through the roof.” The group’s publication on these impacts was published on the IFSW website, garnering over 53,000 views in its first week. A major review by Prof Eileen Munro in 2011 outlined the multiple issues facing social work. A Dutch social worker commented on the conflict between giving social aid versus community building. Eighty-two per cent of UASC applicants were male and Afghanistan remained the country of origin for the largest number of asylum-seeking children, accounting for 30 per cent of UASC applications. There is a wide variety of internal challenges social workers must tackle in order to ensure they are practicing ethically and effectively. It gives me a good feeling and strengthens me that I am given the confidence to rely on my professionalism”. There is only one scenario that justifies a breach of confidentiality, and reasonably so: unlawful and harmful acts. What do you see as some of the major challenges for social workers today? July 7, 2010 - Providing good patient care and avoiding harm are the cornerstones of ethical practice. That’s what’s bothering me.”, A Canadian social worker holding an ‘assistance in dying’ meeting with a woman in a hospital ward commented: “we tried to discuss with her, her end of life wishes while being masked – she could not see our faces, hardly see our eyes, we could not touch her, she could hardly hear us at the best of times!”. Social workers encounter ethical dilemmas on a daily basis, from deciding whether to remove a child from his or her parents to delivering care packages that meet people’s needs without blowing departmental budgets. Social workers help their clients through the challenges they face through advocacy and the administration of psychotherapy. Like healthcare providers and HIPAA, this is a very serious matter that people lose their jobs over, even in the case of accidental breaches. A Slovenian social worker reported difficulties in deciding what was urgent. An ethical dilemma is when a social worker must choose between two options where there is a conflict of ethical principles. Competence – In addition to being a competent social worker, you need to be a competent user of technology. From the unique paradigms in Ethical dilemmas faced by social work administrators tend to fall into three broad groups. Revisit the ethical values and principles outlined in the international statement on ethics and national codes of ethics. A major review by Prof Eileen Munro in 2011 outlined the multiple issues facing social work. (2017). The Code is not designed to provide a detailed set of rules about how social workers should act in specific situations or practice guidance. Worse still, on many occasions we have contacted many government agencies to seek help for our service users and we have no response”. There is no easy answer, and sometimes there is no right answer. Acknowledge social workers as key workers and provide them with the necessary protective equipment, digital technology and other resources to do their jobs. A project manager from Germany working with substance abuse in homeless accommodation described being “faced with the choice of protecting my team from infection (and thus minimizing the risk of my project having to close) or providing a much needed service to the residents of the project”. The Association has a duty to ensure as far as possible that its members discharge their ethical obligations and are afforded the professional rights necessary for the safeguarding and promotion of the rights of peopl… The motivation to become a social worker might be rooted in a … Home Office immigration statistics show that, in 2011, there were 19,804 asylum applications made (Home Office, 2012b) and, of those, 1,277 were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) (Refugee Council, 2012). This can cause problems with balancing work and personal life. (please check one box). The British Association of Social Workers is the professional association for social workers in the United Kingdom (UK). Briefly describe some of the ethical challenges you are facing/have faced during the Covid-19 outbreak. The worker described the solution: “I have taken an alternative option by having close discussions with our partners and asked them to [broaden] their inclusion criteria as well to come up with an operational definition about their target population which was justified and with right rationale enabled us to reach the unreached”. As a young man he was powerless to make them change their minds, but he carried on trying to convince people to use PPE and hand sanitiser, seeing it as his duty as a social worker in his role to promote public safety. Develop guidance together with frontline social workers about how to operate safely and ethically, including guidelines for ethics in remote/digital working and agreeing when it is acceptable for privacy and confidentiality standards to be changed and services restricted, for example. A hospital-based social worker in Malta reported working in a setting where social work was not valued: “The result is that we are feeling helpless, pointless, unheard and unsupported … Hospital management are absolutely failing to back up the multi-disciplinary team. Advocate to governments and draw attention to gaps in welfare systems and the need for improvements. C) developing low-cost products. Ethical Dilemma. Key ethical challenges for healthcare workers arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are identified: isolation and social distancing, duty of care and fair access to treatment. Balancing service user rights, needs and risks against personal risk to social workers and others, in order to provide services as well as possible. Registered charity number: CHE-109.240.290, Practising During Pandemic Conditions: Ethical Guidance for Social Workers, To the Top of the Cliff: How social work changed with COVID-19, The Social Work Response to COVID-19 – Six Months On: Championing changes in services and preparing for long-term consequences, Femicides: When you live with the murderer. The dilemmas were integrated into a framework focused on the sources of … Social workers gave their personal account details to relatives so they could transfer the money needed, enabling the social workers to withdraw the monies through an ATM (cash machine). However, this calls. A social worker in India reported difficulties in addressing the needs of inter-state migrants at their starting points and in transit, as donors focus on distributing help at the final destination. Now this challenge ranges from not getting the exact material needed to societal problems that one faces like the superstitious beliefs too. Healthcare workers want to do the right thing, but it isn’t always clear how they should proceed. As social workers, we are facing a myriad of challenges. A Dutch social worker commented: “The dilemma I experience in four families is that I don’t have a good view on the level of tension and – possibly – domestic violence … My ethical dilemma … is that I actually do too little. Ethical Challenges provides information and activities to help individuals or groups think through basic ethical concepts and considerations. This was against the hospital rules. After witnessing what the leaders did, individual social workers started to feel comfortable to participate in the service delivery. The social worker: “decided not to ask my manager for authorisation to do this … Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission”. Email (so we can contact you for any further information), Telephone number with country code (if you would like us to contact you), Please give your job title and describe your role, What type of organisation do you work for? One of the workers on the Asian Women’s Project she has recently joined to help with her feelings of isolation has … However, the specific concerns facing social workers who are themselves in recovery from substance use disorders remain absent from these discussions. “Therefore to prevent them wandering around and getting infected, we have to act proactively; in fact, we quickly prepared a business continuation plan and are constantly revising it according to the situation, also letting service users and their families know about changes”. A Dutch social worker gave an account of making a choice to continue supporting an emotionally and physically fragile man of 39 with autism and a mental disability, despite the employing organization not allowing home visits and colleagues advising against it. The dilemmas were integrated into a framework focused on the sources of … McHaelen: One of the most significant challenges is this concept about doing more with less. How many years’ experience do you have in social work. 70, Special Issue: eProfessionalism and the Ethical Use of Technology in Social Work, with Guest Editors Donna McAuliffe and Sharlene Nipperess, pp. Sarah Banks (Coordinator), Durham University, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tian Cai (Research Assistant), Durham University, UK, email@example.com, Ed de Jonge, University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org, Michelle Shum, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, email@example.com, Ana M. Sobočan, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, AnaMarija.Sobocan@fsd.uni-lj.si, Kim Strom, University of North Carolina, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org, Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General, email@example.com, María Jesús Úriz, Public University of Navarra, Spain, firstname.lastname@example.org, Merlinda Weinberg, Dalhousie University, Canada, Merlinda.Weinberg@Dal.Ca, Teresa Bertotti, University of Trento, Italy, email@example.com. Many ethical dilemmas arise from a social worker's relationship to a client. The purpose is to reflect about the effects of deep social and economic changes we are facing nowadays, on the professional practices of social workers in India, focusing particularly on the new ethical challenges and dilemmas social workers face on their daily duties. Those that do have a typical contract may find their work extending beyond these hours. Engage in reflective processes of ethical deliberation to work out what might be the right (although difficult) action, taking time to consider what social work values and principles are at stake before deciding what to do in a particular case. This article draws on findings of an international study of social workers’ ethical challenges during COVID-19, based on 607 responses to a qualitative survey. This social worker commented: “With the pandemic, the question of distance becomes central. work students. The practice principles are not intended to be exhaustive as some ethical challenges and problems facing social workers in practice are common and others are specific to particular countries and settings. Emotionally I felt powerless because of the pandemic condition, grateful for the availability of the resource and guilty because of the potential risk of contagion.”, A social worker in a social welfare centre in Greece reflected on the inadequacies of welfare support for citizens facing turmoil, and the implications of this for social work support: “This new normality requires a high sense of ethics and empathy, towards citizens that are worried about the situation afterwards … awareness and vigilance is much more preferred than the comfort of being complacent and stagnant.”. Addressing issues of violence, trauma, extreme poverty, and isolation that afflict homeless people presents ethical and moral challenges to us as social workers and researchers. But the system we have needs to step up further with or without Covid. At the same time, however, the social worker quickly recognized the ethical dilemma facing her. A UK social worker commented on the challenge of distinguishing between ‘children in need’ and ‘children at risk’ and prioritising the latter. Monitor levels of psychological and moral stress and distress amongst social workers and social work students and ensure that they have permission to take time for rest and recuperation, and to recover from their own and family illness. D) providing an efficient workplace. The paper argues for a relational approach to ethics which includes solidarity, relational autonomy, duty, equity, trust and reciprocity as core values. Workers in a Hong Kong home and community care service decided to prioritise medical escort services for hospital out-patient visits only for people with no family members available to do this, and provided shower facilities at the centre for volunteers. Through in-depth interviews, researchers explored ethical dilemmas faced by 14 hospice social workers and the processes they used to move toward resolution. 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