Legal responsibilities relating to isolation
Isolation can cause harm in everyday life, even in the most benign conditions. Taking on responsibility for a patient in the community who is isolated can entail a responsibility to steer them on a course, which they might otherwise not have taken and which might redound to their benefit. In this article, John Finch, a freelance journalist specialising in clinical law and ethics, examines some of the legal responsibilities which are added by the effects of isolation to the already heavy burden carried by community nurses.
Isolation can cause harm in everyday life. Some people choose to be isolated and are pejoratively labelled hermits or recluses. Others may choose to live an isolated life because they prefer privacy to social groups.
It was recently reported across the media that close to 12 000 young adults have maladies caused by isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is what the recorded figures show, and there may be many more. However, it is not only pandemics which cause isolation and their attendant adverse consequences. The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread isolation not just of people whose natural tendency was to be alone but also many others whose natural tendency would be outgoing and gregarious.
Isolation can have adverse effects in the community setting, as patients are usually bound to their homes. Taking on responsibility for a patient in the community who is isolated can entail a responsibility to steer them on a course, which they might otherwise not have taken and which might redound to their benefit.
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