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Ethical Issues for Practice and Research in Congregate Settings During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cases and Commentaries

Banks, Sarah; von Köppen, Marilena

Ethical Issues for Practice and Research in Congregate Settings During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cases and Commentaries Thumbnail


Marilena von Köppen


This paper comprises two cases illustrating ethical challenges experienced by people working with residents and staff in congregate settings (residential homes) during Covid-19. In congregate settings restrictions were more stringent due to residents’ vulnerability and high risks of the virus spreading. In the first case, a UK social worker recounts his proactive advocacy on behalf of a young woman living in residential care, enabling easing of some restrictions for her. In the second case, a German researcher discusses how limits on entering nursing homes resulted in postponing and then ending a participatory research project, with the researcher regretting loss of contact with a home. Following each case is a commentary from an outsider’s perspective. Both authors foreground their responsibilities to care about people facing difficult circumstances and to take action for change. This suggests that situated approaches to ethics, focussing on particular people, roles and relationships in context (such as the ethics of care and virtue ethics) are helpful in understanding the ethical challenges described. The cases illustrate the extra cognitive and practical effort required to engage in ethical reflection on the implications of new circumstances, in which taken-for-granted ways of being, thinking and acting are difficult or impossible.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 27, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 9, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 24, 2021
Journal Ethics and Social Welfare
Print ISSN 1749-6535
Electronic ISSN 1749-6543
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 328-335
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Copyright Statement
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly

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