Ethics in Professional Interaction: Justifying the Limits of Helping in a Supported Housing Unit

Ethics and Social Welfare 4 (1):57-71 (2010)

This paper studies the construction of ethics in interactions between professionals in meetings, in relation to the rationing of resources. The research context is a supported housing unit targeted at clients with mental health and substance abuse problems. The service is provided for a municipality, which expects good progress of the clients. The research question is: how do the professionals produce implicit ethical justifications for setting limits to helping, even though the need for professional help is not called into question? Five types of justification appear in the data covering 28 meetings. However, these types of justification do not solve the central ethical difficulty arising in the conversations. Limiting help would easily push people out of reach of all help. Thus, in spite of the talk about ethical justification, workers do not ultimately resort to limiting help in situations with no real alternatives for getting help. The ethical principle of following non-exclusionary practices is highly prioritized
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DOI 10.1080/17496531003608154
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