The Basic Principles of Ethical Home Health Care

Ethical issues in-home health care is an important, ongoing conversation within the industry. There are four basic ethical principles that the industry expects care providers to respect and follow: autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence. Here’s a closer look at each principle.


Autonomy requires that the home health care patient has control over their mind, body, and action. In short, their decision-making process must be theirs alone, free of any outside influence. Therefore, care providers should clearly outline the risks and benefits of any procedure as well as the likely success rate.


Beneficence, the state or quality of producing or doing good, should accompany any procedure the patient undergoes. To achieve beneficence and provide maximum benefit to the patient, care providers should keep up with their training, further their skills and knowledge, and carefully weigh each patient’s unique needs and circumstances.


In the home health care and medical industries, justice means that any procedure a patient undergoes must uphold active laws and be fair to all involved. Care providers routinely evaluate justice for their patients. Evaluation criteria include rights and obligations, competing needs, distribution of limited resources and possible legislation conflicts.


Any procedure a patient undergoes must be non-maleficent, free of harm or evil, to the patient and others involved. Home health care providers’ risk management strategies, best practices, and safety procedures and protocols are key to providing non-maleficent care.