Ethical Issues in Human Services

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Issues that affect the human and social services profession and society often involve ethical considerations. For example, access to services may be dependent on meeting criteria that favor one group over another. Should this situation raise ethical concerns? If so, where do you find guidance on how to address the ethical issue? As an interdisciplinary field, many different codes of ethics may be applied to issues related to human services. Selecting the appropriate code depends on the nature of the issue, as well as on your position or role within human services. Along with the codes of ethics, Kitchener (1984) identified five core principles that can guide ethical decision making across disciplines. These core principles include autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and fidelity. As a human and social services professional, you should keep these core principles in mind in your everyday work.

For this Discussion, you consider ethical concerns that may be associated with your Capstone Project issue.

Reference: Kitchener, K. S. (1984). Intuition, critical evaluation and ethical principles: The foundation for ethical decisions in counseling psychology. Counseling Psychologist, 12(3), 43–55.

To prepare:

Consider the Capstone Project topic you selected in Week 1. Think about any ethical considerations related to this issue.

Then, review professional codes of ethics that you have explored throughout your program (such as those from the National Organization for Human Services and others provided in this week’s Learning Resources), and consider their role in guiding the implementation of both professional and societal change.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post a brief description of the professional or societal issue you selected. Explain any ethical concerns that might be associated with the issue. Then, identify a professional code of ethics, and explain how it might be used to guide your action in addressing the issue. Be specific.

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Here is my response post………….

RE: Discussion - Week 2


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The societal issue that I choose for my capstone project is social change through the use of nursing facilities. Many older adults rely on the support that is offered by nursing facilities such a housing, nutrients, around the clock care and treatment, companionship, therapy, daily activities, etc. These types of resources helps contribute to social change within the older adult population (Cross Senior Care, 2018). As mentioned previously, the demand to meet the needs of the growing elderly population is expected to increase over the years. Therefore, nursing facilities "Cross Senior Care" must ensure that the strategies used within their mission, vision, and value statement upheld the code of ethics towards being successful.

There are a number of ethical concerns that are associated with seeking assist from a nursing facility. For instance, decision-making play a major part of being ethical towards the nature and significance of an elderly person ability to maintain independence Leff, n.d.). Whereas the elderly person may feel like a fall something minor, family members may view the fall as something serious and take action towards seeking human services assistant. A second ethical concern is associated with being acknowledgeable with the concept of culture change. Older adults from different cultural backgrounds are reaching out for help towards increasing quality of life. For example, advance directives are common forms that are used within nursing facilities. This type of documentation can easily foster an ethical issue due to elderly person changing their mind, cultural influence, and difficulty with anticipating future medical scenarios (Leff, n.d.). Also human service professionals must remember to up held the rights, dignity, and respect for the elderly despite of their own beliefs.

However, the National Organization for Human Services adopted in 2015, provides a host of different ethical standards towards guiding professionals in the right direction with assisting older persons. Therefore, older adults can potentially get the care and treatment that best fit their needs without experiencing bias, being disrespected, and/or not giving the chance to participate in their own care plan towards social change within a nursing facility. The appropriate standards may include the following:

Standard 10 Human service professionals provide services without discrimination or preference in regards to age, ethnicity, culture, race, ability, gender, language preference, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, or other historically oppressed groups.

STANDARD 11 Human service professionals are knowledgeable about their cultures and communities within which they practice. They are aware of multiculturalism in society and its impact on the community as well as individuals within the community. They respect the cultures and beliefs of individuals and groups.

STANDARD 14 Human service professionals are aware of social and political issues that differentially affect clients from diverse backgrounds.

STANDARD 26 Human service professionals seek the training, experience, education and supervision necessary to ensure their effectiveness in working with culturally diverse individuals based on age, ethnicity, culture, race, ability, gender, language preference, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, or other historically oppressive groups. In addition, they will strive to increase their competence in methods which are known to be the best fit for the population(s) with whom they work.

STANDARD 34 Human service professionals are aware of their own cultural backgrounds, beliefs, values, and biases. They recognize the potential impact of their backgrounds on their relationships with others and work diligently to provide culturally competent service to all of their clients


Leff, B. (n.d.). Ethical Issues in Health Care for Older Persons. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from

Cross Senior Care. (2018). Retirement Living. Family Style. Retrieved May 31, 2018 from

National Organization for Human Services (NOHS). (n.d.). Ethical standards for human service professionals: National Organization for Human Services Adopted 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from

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August 21, 2023


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