The Individualistic Nature of US Health Care: An Introduction to the Ethical Considerations Pertaining to Patient Lifting and Handling Injuries Among Caregivers



From a historical perspective, the US is considered largely individualistic, its roots grounded in the ethical principle of respect for personal autonomy. To that extent, it is no surprise that US policies generally focus on the needs of individuals rather than the needs of whole population segments. The challenge to caregivers, policy makers, and other stakeholders is to balance the care of individuals with efforts to protect whole segments of the population. The Georgetown mantra, individualism, collectivism, and entitlement are described. This theoretical frame is then used to raise specific ethical questions and debate within the context of ethically sound Safe Patient Handling policy formation, designed to protect whole segments of the caregiver population.

Gallagher SM

Keywords: caregiver safety, ethics, individualism, collectivism, distributive justice, policy formation, Georgetown mantra

One time download – from June 2012 issue