Does moral case deliberation change current views on restrictions? Staff perceptions on restrictions

Anne P. S. van der Meulen*, Elsbeth Taminiau-Bloem, C.M.P.M. Hertogh, Petri Embregts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In the care of people with intellectual disability, support staff apply restrictions to people with moderate intellectual disabilities (ID) in several domains of daily life, such as restrictions on bedtimes or on the amount of food intake. Support staff may experience moral dilemmas applying these restrictions. In this respect, moral case deliberation (MCD) is used as an instrument for support staff to jointly reflect on dilemmas in care and is considered a form of ethical support. MCD also seems to broaden the perspective of their participants.

Specific Aims:
This study examined to what extent MCD led to changes in support staff's perspectives with regard to daily life restrictions placed upon people with moderate ID. Consequently, this study examined to what extent support staff's perspectives on these restrictions were broadened as a result of their participation in the study.

Prior to and following a series of three MCD sessions on moral dilemmas commonly encountered in daily life care, interviews were held with 12 support staff across two teams. Participants were asked what they considered to be good care in the given dilemmas. To systematically compare all of the answers given in the interviews prior to and following the MCDs, the same interview-guide was used in both instances. Interviews were analyzed inductively.

Following the MCD sessions, the respondents tended to hold onto their perspective to restrict clients to provide them with structure, clarity and rest, as expressed prior to the MCD. However, some respondents adapted their perspective on restrictions and were willing to provide people with moderate ID more freedom after the MCD.

This study contributed to the evidence underlying MCD in healthcare and in providing insights into MCD with regard to daily life restrictions in the care of people with moderate ID. Partly, MCD leads to a broadening of perspective on restrictions applied in the daily life of people with moderate ID.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • CARE
  • ethics
  • intellectual disability
  • practice
  • restrictions


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