Ethical harms for migrant 24h caregivers in home care arrangements

Nursing Ethics 30 (3):382-393 (2023)
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Abstract

The glaring lack of formal and informal caregivers in Germany has not only become apparent in hospitals and nursing homes but also in home care arrangements. One tension is particularly pertinent in such arrangements: a ‘family-oriented’ logic of the long-term care insurance and the individual wishes of those in need of care meet the actual possibilities of family carers. This care gap has been compensated for by 24-hour care workers, so-called ‘live-ins’, from Eastern Europe for some years. This contribution maps the ‘live-ins’ situation comprehensively from an ethical perspective. Based on different constellations regarding the ‘live-ins’ status as a professional nurse or non-professional caregiver, which ethical principles and moral norms are affected by whom and potentially conflict with each other in such home care arrangements at a micro and meso level of care are outlined. Special attention is paid to the tension between self-care and care for others, and to questions of the shared responsibility in and social responsibility of those external services that are involved in home care in addition to the ‘live-in’. In order to uncover, understand and influence the current ethical problems, an ethical framework that considers both the divergent interests of all individuals involved in the home care arrangement and their mutual dependency and vulnerability is needed.

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