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"Duty of care" - do we have one? - Carers UK Forum

"Duty of care" - do we have one?

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Hi - I've started this thread as a place to discuss, in a very neutral way (!) if anyone wants to, the issues surrounding the morality of caring. It came out of a very interesting distinction that Crocus pointed on my very UN-neutral (!) thread about the stress that comes from having to put on a 'jolly front' to carees (for those who do that!) - the distinction about being 'able' to care, and the 'desire' to care, and whethe we should or shouldn't do caring if we can't feel any 'desire' to care (and the contrasting one, whether we may feel 'unable' ie, 'incompentant' (?) at caring, even though we feel 'desire' to care).

I've thrown the title into the ring - 'Do we have a 'Duty of care' to others?', and if so, what is it, and why do we have it, or why don't we have it.

Obviously, 'duty of care' has a legal meaning, as a parent for their child, or teachers in locus parentis, etc etc, and of course, do discuss that (anyone who wants to discuss anything here at all that is!), but for me, speaking entirely personally (as I always do, never meaning to 'impose' on anyone, even if my vehement writing style may lead one to suppose!!!!), I see the more interesting question (and probably more relevant to most of us here as I suspect the majority of us do not have a legal 'duty of care' to our carees, do we??)(some do, I know, of course, especially where dementia is concerned, or the youth of the caree), as being 'moral duty of care'.

Putting it bluntly - should we care for someone we don't want to care for in the way they want to be cared for?

And if so, why? And if not, why?

(Everyone, or no one, feel free to pitch in - if anyone wants to!

If no one wants to pitch in, I'll doubtless have a very satisfying and uncontested 'debate' with myself ha ha! (I'm my favourite debating partner, as it's so nice not to hear opposing views to mine!!!!) Image

PS - we'll probably all debate the very meaning of the terms 'care', 'want',' should', 'able', 'duty', 'moral' etc etc!
Our situation is such that if we do not do the caring my 28 year old son would be put into an old persons home. I think that any parent who still had breath in their body would do anything they could to oppose that. There is simply no where else suitable for my son to go hence his online petition and presentation to the Scottish Parliament decrying the lack of suitable respite for the age group 21-45.

For me the answer is in the question. If you only do from a sense of 'duty' then you shouldn't be doing it at all.
Am I the only one too busy / ground-down with the job of caring to wonder about the ethics or semantics of it Image ?

I care because of love and also because I believe we have a moral duty to our parents. We too will be old one day and I think they deserve the best care available. Also there is no alternative because my mum refuses to go into a care home and she is judged to have capacity to make those decisions, despite the dementia.

This is not to say that I find caring easy, or especially pleasurable. I do it because I don't like the alternative. She would not be capable of staying in her own home without my ever-increasing support. So, I choose to support her.
In 2010 we had an International Conference on caring and this topic was hotly debated. There are different approaches around the world, and in some countries it is being legally enforced

[quote]July 2013 ]

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 81677.html
I think it's different for everyone, Jenny.

I'm my son's carer and he's only 12. I think that's different because obviously my job as his mum is to look after him, it's just that the amount and type of looking after he needs is different to that of most 12 year olds. I love him to bits, I wouldn't be without him for the world and I've more or less given up my own life for his sake - but I don't think I would do that for anyone else.

I've a horrible relationship with my mum and haven't spoken to her for years. If, at some point in the future, she needed someone to organise a care home for her, or to sort out carers coming in to help, I'd do it out of a sense of duty. If she needed someone to pick up her groceries or organise her bills I'd do it, because I do that sort of thing anyway and it isn't much of an extra effort to collect two sets of groceries rather than one (or set up an online account and get it delivered). I wouldn't provide personal care, nor would I want to spend any time with her, but that's a very different situation to someone who loves their mum/dad/nan/brother/whoever it is they're looking after.

I think it's possible to care in a way that isn't all consuming in some situations. For example, if someone is living in a home or assisted living, it's possible to pop in as often as you can, take them out for days to places they like, get them new clothes or food you know they like, that sort of thing. But I think it's always about balance; everyone's needs are different whether you're the one providing the care or the one being cared for.

I've learnt to say no over the years. I have struggled with co-dependency for most of my life and can see that it's done me no favours. So I'd go to the moon and back for my son, but for anyone else I'd do what I could within the bounds of me having a happy and healthy life. If my mum needs round the clock care at some point then I'm afraid she'll be getting it from someone else, but this is only because she's done so many awful abusive things to me over the years that cutting off contact with her was like ending an abusive relationship and I'm not willing to start it again.

So I think it's a soul searching question. It's possible to care and be caring without doing the lion's share of the work in some cases (such as a nursing home rather than care at home, for example). But I think people should do what feels right for them and accept it's a very personal decision and a very personal situation, no two situations will be the same and we all see and experience life in different ways.
Anne said: Am I the only one too busy / ground-down with the job of caring to wonder about the ethics or semantics of it ?

I care for hubby - don't have the time/energy to analyse or argue the why's and wherefore's
I wouldn't know where to start on this thread ,My Father is now in Sheltered Acc, so my caring role has changed , im now back to being his daughter + plus the usual hands on stuff eg cleaning, shopping bill paying & such , the GUILT is now subsiding & i know after all the years i did do all the Caring that i haven't failed , i just knew my limitations & my caring was done out of Love for him , if it had been out of Duty , i would have walked away years ago & i will always fight his corner, always have & always will , hope this ramble makes sense .
My husband and I are full time very heavy end carers for our severely physically disabled and ventilator dependent 28 year old son. My father in law has been in hospital in St Andrews since November last year - that is a 5 hour round trip away from us. There is no way on this earth we can be going up there every week - its not just the distance and the expense its the fact of our heavy level of caring for our son. My husband tries to go up once a month while I stay at home with Rob. My mother had a heart attack on the 6th January this year so at that point we had my father in law in hospital in St Andrews at the same time as we had my mother in hospital in Clydebank. She has not been out of the house since her heart attack but my brother lives with her so at least she is not alone. I have been trying to go down when my husband and son are at the footie so that I am still available to help with Rob. Its not easy but I do not think that any government should have the right to force people to visit their parents. They would have to clone us to make it possible in our case. I do not feel guilty as my son has to come first.

Hello Jenny,Ummmm this topic really reminds me of your nurse training some years ago now - but not so long that I do remember the infamous topic ''duty of care'' it always created a great debate amongst us budding nurses, as you can well imagine.

But for your topic I feel it is more about family issues as opposed to going to work for a shift & nursing - but as a carer now I can really appreciate the break we never get as opposed to a shift say on an elderly ward etc. Also my mother often called it a ''duty'' to care for my late younger sister who passed away tragically under the care of our local mental health team - something I will never truly get over.

So yes a duty of care is a fine word on paper as such as human rights is or marriage vows or anything else that comes into those perimeters - it's almost like understanding the difference between right & wrong - but in reality I often felt it applied more to professionals as opposed to family's. Personally I often feel it is a word banded about with little or no meaning - I feel ''either you care or you don't care'' it isn't a duty; it's a human instinct - as far as I am concerned - ummmm well added something to a debate which as many have said maybe a bit out of place in this forum really - almost like pondering the meaning of life -

But well done for trying something - adding something more to this forum after all that is what it is here for. God bless - keep on putting our ideas there is always someone listening - supporting caring. Hope that hits the spot as it were - answers your question one way or the other.