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The ethics of space in clinical practice

Alderson, P; (2007) The ethics of space in clinical practice. Clinical Ethics , 2 (2) pp. 85-91. 10.1258/147775007781029591. Green open access

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The views of parents and staff about physical and symbolic space and its effects on ethical clinical practice are reported. Researchers observed four neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in southern England, and interviewed 40 senior staff and the parents of 80 babies. The adults' concerns include: how space affects the sharing of information and responsibility for the babies; respect and welcoming policies; access, freedom of movement and accessibility of staff; family friendly space and privacy; aesthetic values; and 'baby-led' space. The paper concludes that abstract principles of respect for autonomy and attitudes towards the baby's biological and personal space take on practical embodied meanings in clinical spaces and practices. NICU design and aesthetics convey powerful ethical messages of welcome or exclusion that endorse or undermine partnerships between staff and parents. Helping premature and impaired babies to reach their space at the centre of their family involves sensitive management.

Type: Article
Title: The ethics of space in clinical practice
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1258/147775007781029591
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1258/147775007781029591
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1536217
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