Ethical issues experienced by healthcare workers in nursing homes: Literature review

Deborah Preshaw, Kevin Brazil, Dorry McLaughlin, Andrea Frolic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ethical issues are increasingly being reported by care-providers; however, little is knownabout the nature of these issues within the nursing home. Ethical issues are unavoidable in healthcareand can result in opportunities for improving work and care conditions; however, they are alsoassociated with detrimental outcomes including staff burnout and moral distress.Objectives: The purpose of this review was to identify prior research which focuses on ethical issues in thenursing home and to explore staffs’ experiences of ethical issues.Methods: Using a systematic approach based on Aveyard (2014), a literature review was conducted whichfocused on ethical and moral issues, nurses and nursing assistants, and the nursing home.Findings: The most salient themes identified in the review included clashing ethical principles, issuesrelated to communication, lack of resources and quality of care provision. The review also identifiedsolutions for overcoming the ethical issues that were identified and revealed the definitional challengesthat permeate this area of work.Conclusions: The review highlighted a need for improved ethics education for care-providers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-506
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number5
Early online date13 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2016


  • Ethical issues
  • ethics
  • literature review
  • nurses
  • nursing assistants
  • nursing homes


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