Journal article

Balancing health worker well-being and duty to care: an ethical approach to staff safety in COVID-19 and beyond.

Rosalind J McDougall, Lynn Gillam, Danielle Ko, Isabella Holmes, Clare Delany

J Med Ethics | BMJ | Published : 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risks that can be involved in healthcare work. In this paper, we explore the issue of staff safety in clinical work using the example of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the COVID-19 crisis. We articulate some of the specific ethical challenges around PPE currently being faced by front-line clinicians, and develop an approach to staff safety that involves balancing duty to care and personal well-being. We describe each of these values, and present a decision-making framework that integrates the two. The aim of the framework is to guide the process of balancing these two values when staff safety is at stake, by facilitating ethical reflection an..

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