Ethics in nursing homes: Experience and casuistry

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The purpose of the study was to further explore the methods that nurses use to solve ethically difficult care situations in nursing homes while the aim of this article was to present a model for nursing practice in such situations. Fourteen nurses from three nursing homes in Norway were observed and interviewed in order to discern the strategies they used to deal with ethically difficult care situations. To analyse this information, we used a constant comparative method until a grounded theory emerged. The nurses' principal strategy was to apply earlier experiences while striving for the best outcome for the elderly patients. This article discusses this strategy and compares it to a theory of ethics called casuistry. We suggest that by using the method of experiences combined with casuistry in a more systematic way, nurses can develop acceptable solutions for difficult care situations in nursing homes.

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