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Professional ethics are the building blocks that provide the foundation on which your caregiving career is based. They provide a standard of conduct and code of behavior. They are a set of principles which relate to what is morally right or wrong.

Professional ethics for all people are important, but those related to caregiving and the caregiver are vital for the wellbeing of all and can have a direct bearing on the quality of care that you deliver.

As a caregiver, you are obligated to follow the standards of behavior and the rules that are guided by the professional ethics of your caregiving position. As all caregivers know, the caregiving profession can often be difficult, or frustrating, with many challenging situations. The basic rule of thumb, no matter the situation, is to always be guided by your professional ethics and to do what you know to be right. The professional ethics that should guide you at all times include the following principles: 

  • Always perform care to the best of your abilities for all of your clients all of the time. Giving the best care possible means doing what is supposed to be done, when it is supposed to be done and in the manner that is supposed to be done ... for all clients, always.

  • Treat all your clients with respect. Never mistreat them or deny needed care, ever. This is one of the most important ethical considerations for caregivers, for it’s at the very core of your profession. Clients feel good if they are honored and respected in their daily life activities. Call them by name and not the generic “Grandma” or “Grandpa” unless that is specifically requested by the client or family. For most, a person's name means something to them, and expresses a lifetime of work, hope, fear, loss, love and happiness. Treating them with respect and giving them the best quality care possible makes them feel that they are still important people, and that you believe they are important. This makes them feel good about themselves, and substantially improves their quality of life.

  • Treat all clients equally. Give all of your clients the best care possible, regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion, personal beliefs or social or economic status. Take care of all of your clients with respect and be considerate of their feelings and beliefs. You may not agree or believe the same things, but your clients have the right to be and say what they wish.

  • Provide care with kindness and patience. Some clients are easier to take care of than others, but kindness and patience is always required. In fact, they are major caregiver attributes, which all caregivers should strive to achieve. Kind, patient caregivers are the ones who have the most significant and positive impact on their clients ... and the ones who are most fondly remembered.

  • Be an advocate for your clients. This means you’re always supporting them; making sure they’re properly cared for and not neglected; that all caregiving requirements are being done adequately for each client; making sure that your reports are always followed up, and so on. Remember, you may be the only advocate they have left in their lives ... this is a very important responsibility in the caregiving profession.

  • Provide privacy and maintain dignity. Put yourself in your client’s place. Would you want the door or curtains open if you were using the bathroom or taking a bath? Would you want your roommate or a visitor to see you as you receive personal care? Privacy is essential in all daily care activities. Never shout down the hall with a temperature reading or a bowel movement occurrence if others are around. Protect your clients by providing the privacy you would want for you or your family members. Providing them with privacy maintains their dignity. Also keep in mind that federal regulations require that you honor the privacy of those with Alzheimer’s just as you would anyone.

  • Respect confidentiality. This includes both oral and written forms. Each caregiver and client has the right to expect that knowledge gained through the circumstance of illness or work will not be forwarded to others who do not need to know the information. Do not place records or the client's binder in any area where they can be seen by unauthorized individuals. Only repeat information that has a direct bearing on your client's current situation, and only to those involved in the care of your client. Do not let yourself be overheard. Remember also that these confidentiality requirements are in the tough federal law called HIPAA.

  • Don’t gossip. What you see and hear on the job stays on the job. Never talk about one client to another. Anything you do must be based on the knowledge that no one needs to know what you know unless it relates directly to the welfare of the client. Also, don’t gossip about your fellow workers. The most respected caregivers don’t gossip because it demeans them and undermines the effectiveness of the care being provided.

  • Practice good personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is the way you keep yourself clean and neat. The way you dress tells a lot about you. Professional and dedicated caregivers take pride in their appearance.

  • Show loyalty. To be loyal does not mean to blindly follow the direction of others without question or discussion. Loyalty does mean being faithful to the management, co-workers and clients of your company. Loyalty means not letting personal feelings interfere with your work. It means confining grievances or negative opinions within the company itself and following the standard procedures of the company for airing those grievances or opinions.

  • Maintain a positive attitude. Positive personal qualities are necessary for success as a person and as a caregiver. Your attitude is the way others see you through your behavior. Positive human relationships result from a positive attitude with clients as well as with other staff, family members and visitors.

  • Be responsible and dependable. This means that you’re the type of caregiver who can be depended upon by everyone to always do your best and to be there when needed in every situation.

  • Take care of yourself. The nature of your special profession requires that you need to be at your very best every day in order to give the best possible care to your clients. In this profession, you need to be especially careful of things like substance abuse, lack of sleep, or other things that can cause you to have personal problems and not be at your best.

  • Stay educated. You are in a profession that’s constantly changing – there’s always more to be learned. You owe it to your clients to be the best-educated caregiver possible. Their quality of care depends on this knowledge. So take part in as many educational programs as you can throughout your entire career.

  • Be honest. Respect your client’s possessions. Do not take things from them that don’t belong to you. Don’t cheat or provide misinformation on your reports. Always tell the truth. Honesty is especially important in the caregiving profession because your client's quality of care often highly depends upon their caregivers being honest. 


Physical changes, memory loss, reactions to medications, financial dependency, death of a spouse and loved ones, and lack of close relationships make it difficult to be an elder in the world today. And they often depend upon their caregivers almost totally to provide them the best possible quality of life.


Caregivers who diligently follow their professional ethics and who are kind, loving and patient are at the top of their profession, and are the ones remembered and talked enthusiastically about by their company, clients and many incredibly appreciative families for years to come.

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