SOCW 6002 FSU Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in Caring for Children and Adolescents Paper

In a 4-page APA format paper include the following:

  • Briefly describe the illness you selected.
  • Explain an ethical issue involving a child or adolescent in the context of the illness. Be sure to explain all sides of the ethical dilemma. (ex child social and physical development, psychological factor, family etc.)
  • Explain your ethical responsibilities as a social worker (medical social worker) in adherence with the professional ethical standards applicable to the clinical situation. Be sure to justify your response citing the NASW Code of Ethics

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In this assignment, we will explore an illness, discuss an ethical issue involving a child or adolescent in the context of the illness, and examine the ethical responsibilities of a medical social worker in adherence to professional ethical standards.

1. Briefly describe the illness you selected:

The illness that will be discussed in this assignment is childhood cancer. Childhood cancer refers to various types of cancer that affect children and adolescents under the age of 18. It includes cancers such as leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, and others. The diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer can have a significant impact on the child, their family, and the community.

2. Explain an ethical issue involving a child or adolescent in the context of the illness:

An ethical issue that arises in the context of childhood cancer is the decision-making process regarding treatment options. Parents, medical professionals, and the child themselves may face dilemmas when considering the potential benefits and risks of various treatment modalities. In some cases, the treatment protocols may involve invasive procedures, prolonged hospital stays, and potential adverse effects. Balancing the long-term health outcomes with the potential short-term distress and discomfort can be challenging.

Additionally, autonomy and the child’s right to participate in decision-making may also pose an ethical dilemma. While children have the right to be involved in decisions that affect their healthcare, their capacity to understand the implications of different treatment options may vary depending on their age, development, and personal circumstances. This presents a delicate balance between respect for autonomy and ensuring their best interests are upheld.

Furthermore, financial considerations can also impact the ethical decision-making process. Childhood cancer treatment can be expensive, and some families may face financial disincentives, which may affect their ability to choose certain treatment options. This raises concerns about equity and access to adequate care.

3. Explain your ethical responsibilities as a medical social worker in adherence with the professional ethical standards applicable to the clinical situation:

As a medical social worker in the context of childhood cancer, adherence to professional ethical standards is essential. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics provides guidance for ethical practice.

The NASW Code of Ethics highlights several relevant ethical responsibilities. These include promoting the well-being of society, advocating for social justice, and respecting the dignity and worth of individuals. In the context of childhood cancer, these responsibilities manifest in various ways.

Firstly, the medical social worker is ethically responsible for ensuring that the best interests of the child are upheld while respecting the autonomy and informed decision-making of the child, to the extent possible given their age and capacity. This requires engaging in comprehensive assessments to evaluate the child’s developmental stage, understanding their preferences and concerns, and facilitating their participation in healthcare decisions when appropriate.

Secondly, the medical social worker must address any potential disparities in access to care. Advocacy for equitable access to treatment options and resources is crucial in ensuring that all children and families affected by childhood cancer receive the support they need. This may involve collaborating with other professionals, organizations, and policymakers to improve healthcare systems and reduce financial barriers.

Lastly, the medical social worker has a responsibility to provide emotional support and psychosocial interventions to both the child and their family. This includes addressing the emotional impact of the illness, facilitating communication within the family, and connecting them to appropriate support groups or counseling services.

In conclusion, childhood cancer presents complex ethical issues that require careful consideration and balancing of various factors. As medical social workers, it is essential to navigate these ethical dilemmas while upholding the professional ethical standards outlined by the NASW Code of Ethics. By considering the best interests of the child, promoting social justice, and respecting the autonomy and dignity of individuals, medical social workers can play a vital role in supporting children and families impacted by childhood cancer.

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