Morality in the mundane: Specific needs for ethics support in elderly care

Linda Dauwerse*, Sandra van der Dam, Tineke Abma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ethics support is called for to improve the quality of care in elderly institutions. Various forms of ethics support are presented, but the needs for ethics support remain unknown. Using a mixed-methods design, this article systematically investigates the specific needs for ethics support in elderly care. The findings of two surveys, two focus groups and 17 interviews demonstrate that the availability of ethics support is limited. There is a need for ethics support, albeit not unconditionally. Advice-based forms of ethics support are less appropriate as they are removed from practice. Ethics support should be tailored to the often mundane and easily overlooked moral issues that arise in long-term care. Attention should also be given to the learning styles of nurses who favour experiential learning. Raising awareness and developing a climate of openness and dialogue are the most suitable ways to deal with the mundane moral issues in elderly care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • clinical ethics
  • clinical ethics committees
  • elderly care
  • ethics consultation
  • everyday ethics


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