Assignment on Ethics and Social Work Practice

Case study 1: Alison’s case
Alison’s case presents a brief outline of the harm teenage bullying and Anorexia nervosa (AN) creates in a pubescent child’s psyche. The psychological impact of peer views and taunts can be recognized by studying Alison’s case. The happy, bright and people-pleasing 13-year-old girl turned into a food-obsessed 17-year-old with a psychological disorder regarding her eating habits that she considered normal. From Alison’s case study, it is viewed that psychological disorders such as AN influences the decision-making abilities of healthy and normal teenagers like her and influences their daily life decisions. Psychological issues require intervention from social workers and parents in order to revive normalcy in the patients’ life. From Alison’s case, it is determined that AN along with social bullying are directly related to the detrimental health of patients. Teenagers suffer from psychological disorders that are developed along with severe eating disorders (ED) during their early formative years of pubescence. This is observed in the case of Alison as she insisted on her eating habits being ‘normal’ despite being hospitalized as well as being placed with a drip to provide her with basic nutrients.
Anorexia nervosa, as a psychological disorder influences the mental health of teenagers and pubescent females’ health are majorly affected as observed in the case of Alison. Unlike any other psychological disorder, Anorexia nervosa diminishes the patient’s logical thinking abilities with respect to their own health concerns. The study performed by Westwood et al. (2018), proves the situation that was provided in Alison’s case study regarding the decision-making ability of patients suffering from Anorexia nervosa. Psychological disorders such as Anorexia nervosa influences the psyche of a healthy person and reduces the cognitive skills of the individual. In such cases, the social workers or other units responsible for patients’ well-being need to take responsible decision for the patient. The ability to take appropriate decisions is a basic stage in health and social care (Sen, 2018). The ethical judgment of social care workers plays an essential role in providing the patient with the best treatment possible in the situation.
According to the study performed by Phillipou, Castle & Rossell, (2018), eating disorders such as anorexia develops BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) within an individual and negates a person’s ability to think rationally. This occurs due to the rewiring of the thought process and body image assessment abilities of the patient. It is the duty of a social care worker to help the patient recover from health issues by guiding them and often taking decisions that the patient is incapable of taking. The ethical norms and principles the social workers need to maintain while performing their job role within the operational context. These refer to the base code of conduct any health and social care professional must follow in their job roles- to serve the patients efficiently and not act in a way that would cause harm to the patient (Reamer, 2015). Based on the teachings of Hippocrates, the ethical principles of social care are drafted as principle of ethics in biomedical services.
As per the study conducted by Hodgson & Watts (2017), it is observed that ethical standards and principles within a social care context cannot be referred to as simple rational topics. In order to fulfil the core basic of health and social profession, it is essential for social workers to maintain the principles of ethics in medical situations. In reference to Alison’s case, the social worker involved with the situation needs to provide a solution to the patient and her family according to the ethical principles of Non-maleficence and beneficence. These principles allow the social worker associated with Alison’s case to take decisions regarding her health and mental condition.
Case Study Analysis
The four ethical principles that social workers need to follow in any health-related scenario involves the following core principles of health and social care:
• Principle of Non-maleficence
• Principle of Beneficence
• Principle of Justice
• Principle of Autonomy
It is essential for social workers to follow these principles in any context that requires them to take decisions, which involve the well-being of the patient. In Alison’s case, the social worker needs to develop recommendations for Alison and her family with respect to the ethical standards associated with the principle of non-maleficence and beneficence. These principles will allow the social worker associated with the hospital to decide for Alison, an appropriate treatment that would be beneficial for her and would not pose any harm to her physical and mental well-being. The principle of beneficence will give the social worker a paternalistic authority in making decisions for Alison that she is incapable of taking due to her lack of judgement and incapacities (Bioethic Tools: Principles of Bioethics, 2019).
The principle of non-maleficence would benefit the social worker’s purpose in providing help to Alison with respect to her fragile emotional state and psychological vulnerability. According to Kumar (2016), the morality of an individual resides on the outcome of the process that is performed by them. The morality involved in taking decisions based on the principle of non-maleficence resides in the fact that health officials are allowed to take active decisions regarding the well-being of a patient in a way that would minimise the risk for the patient (Uhlmann, Pizarro & Diermeier, 2015). In Alison’s case, the social worker could help her parents place her in the Eating Disorders Unit.
Application of all the principles in a situation could provide similar outcomes, but the procedures of performing the act may be different. By applying the principles of maleficence as well as beneficence in Alison’s case, the social worker would be able to persuade her parents and her to take active steps. Ensuring appropriate steps are taken by the hospital and Alison’s parents in providing her with the required treatment for her condition would be the primary goal. The utility of the ethical principles may be in conflict with each other in situations similar to Alison’s case. It is determined from the case study that Alison is against the idea of being in the Eating Disorders Unit; however, considering the principle of beneficence, the social worker needs to incorporate her in the segment.
Thus, it can be stated that it is essential for the social worker to pacify Alison’s parents and admit her to the Eating Disorders Unit in order to nurse Alison back to health. Her incapacity to take proper decisions regarding her health serves as a prime marker to the social worker to take paternalistic decision for Alison.

Bioethic Tools: Principles of Bioethics. (2019). Retrieved 16 March 2019, from
Hodgson, D., & Watts, L. (2017). What can moral and social intuitionism offer ethics education in social work? A reflective inquiry. The British Journal of Social Work, 47(1), 181-197.
Kumar, V. (2016). The empirical identity of moral judgment. The Philosophical Quarterly, 66(265), 783-804.
Phillipou, A., Castle, D. J., & Rossell, S. L. (2018). Anorexia nervosa: eating disorder or body image disorder?.
Reamer, F. G. (2015). 18 Ethical Issues in Social Work. Social workers’ desk reference, 143.
Sen, A. (2018). Collective choice and social welfare. Harvard University Press.
Uhlmann, E. L., Pizarro, D. A., & Diermeier, D. (2015). A person-centered approach to moral judgment. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(1), 72-81.
Westwood, H., Mandy, W., Simic, M., & Tchanturia, K. (2018). Assessing ASD in adolescent females with anorexia nervosa using clinical and developmental measures: a preliminary investigation. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 46(1), 183-192.

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