Case Studies / Activities
Having read Chapter 1 – Values and Ethics – you will already have started to understand the debate around an ‘ethic of justice’ and an ‘ethic of care’. The following case study and commentary are provided to broaden your thinking about these issues. (This is a shortened version of a ‘real-life’ case, case 3.2, discussed in Banks and Nohr, 2012: 84-91)
Case Study 1 with Activity - ‘A Vegan Diet’
A man in his mid-70s has developed Alzheimer’s disease and has been placed in residential care. In the care home he has been provided with vegan meals as this accords with his existing eating preferences. However, having by mistake been given meat on one occasion and having thoroughly enjoyed it, he makes abundantly clear that from now on he wants to eat meat as the other residents do. Despite staff trying to persuade him to continue to eat vegan meals, he adamantly refuses to do so. Nevertheless, his wife – once informed of the problem – insists that he should continue on a vegan diet. She asserts that for him to eat meat would be a violation of the conviction they have long shared that eating meat is unacceptable.
- What do you think are the key issues here?
- How do you think a satisfactory outcome could be achieved?
Case Study 2 with Activity – An ethical dilemma
A social worker, Geraldine, is working with a couple, Jane and William, whose relationship is under strain because of financial problems stemming mainly from gambling debts accrued by Jane. William has indicated he will continue their relationship only if Jane gives up her gambling and she has agreed to do so. Geraldine is working with the couple to help resolve their problems and knows that Jane has made this commitment. Following some apparently constructive sessions with the couple, Geraldine happens to encounter Jane as she is hurriedly leaving the local bookmaker’s premises. Jane is embarrassed, acknowledges that she has put on a bet that day, but says that this has been a ‘one-off’ occurrence and will definitely not be repeated. She pleads with Geraldine not to ever say anything about this episode to William. What do you think Geraldine should do?