Chapter

Risk and choice

Sheila Furness

in Mental Health and Care Homes

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593637
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754722 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199593637.003.0024
Risk and choice

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This chapter outlines a number of ethical dilemmas facing care home staff in working with residents with mental health problems, particularly dementia. On a daily basis, they have to balance residents’ rights to autonomy, independence, and choice against acceptable risk taking. The importance of recognizing individuals’ capacity to be involved in decisions about their care, which may involve risk, and the important role that meaningful relationships with staff and a power sharing approach can play to contribute to resident well-being is highlighted. Research indicates that staff perceptions of risk can skew their responses to risk-related decisions, contributing to the development of an overprotective and highly regulated environment. Case examples illustrate how staff can work with residents and their families in a more creative and nuanced way to respect individual capacity, ability, and choice while weighing up both the dangers and benefits of risky activity.

Chapter.  6609 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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