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Whilst ethics support services are well established in clinical settings, ethics support is poorly developed in nursing homes and care homes. Moreover, nurses and support workers employed in these homes receive little or no training about ethical values or principles, and they are not provided with the skills necessary to address ethical issues in their work. Recent policy reforms have invoked ethical concepts such as dignity and compassion to improve the quality of social and nursing care, but little is known about how these values can – or should – be adopted within nursing homes and care homes.

In partnership with researchers from the University of Surrey, this project introduces and evaluates a new model of ethics support centred on the value of ‘dignity in care’ within four nursing homes in the south of England. Adopting an action research approach, four new ethics support initiatives will be designed and developed within each nursing home. Over a 12-month period, these initiatives will be subject to continual study, evaluation and refinement by the research team and care staff working in the homes, ultimately producing an account of the various benefits and challenges associated with embedding ethics support within nursing home settings.

This project is supported by a grant from the Burdett Trust.