Ethics, occupational therapy and discharge planning: four broken principles

Article English OPEN
Atwal, Anita ; Caldwell, Kay
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: education | behavioral disciplines and activities

Occupational therapists play a significant role in the discharge process and are often exposed to ethically\ud challenging decision-making. This paper examines the moral basis of discharge planning, relating it to the four fundamental bio-ethical principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. Using a case study design, data was collected from 10 occupational therapists and two elder care patients using the critical incident approach, as part of a wider study to determine their perceptions of discharge planning and multidisciplinary teamwork. Direct observation of interaction within multidisciplinary teams was also undertaken. The findings from the research suggest that occupational therapists are unintentionally breaching these four principles and therefore their code of ethics and professional conduct. It is suggested that further research is needed to determine how occupational therapists overcome these challenges. Furthermore, this research has important implications for education establishments regarding the teaching of ethics to occupational therapists.
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