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Duty Of Care Health And Social Care

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Understand how duty of care contributes to safe practice

(a) What it means to have a duty of care in one’s own work role A duty of care is a legal obligation to all Health and Social carers and professionals who have to act in the best interests of individuals and others, also not to act or fail to act in a way that results in harm. This duty of care can be a general implied minimum standard of care or can be outlined in different codes of practice or guidelines in various legislation. This duty of care can also be more specific and defined in specific legislation for example Equality Act 2010 or the COSHH regulations 2002. Carers and employers have to ensure that this duty of care is practiced and achieved. Employers adopt this duty of care into their training and operating procedures so it is central to how they conduct their practice. Carers have also an added legal duty to follow the training and procedures of their employers. Carers failing to follow their duty of care or codes of practice can be prosecuted in court under legislation for malpractice, abuse or neglect.

(b) How duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals

This duty of care helps organisation plan work ahead, assess and compile personal care plans for each individual that is tailored specifically to that individual ensuring protection. When social care workers are aware of their own duty of care and follow the code of practices this enables them to work under clear guidelines ensuring a safer work environment and that all acts are done with the individuals best interests. Safeguarding is not just about keeping individuals safe in the care setting, but making sure they are safe from illness, abuse or injury. Everyone working within the social care setting are taking responsibility of the individuals needs and this promotes health, prevents accidents and protects adults from abuse.

2 Know how to address conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

Write a description of;

(a) Potential conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights (make reference to at least two examples from your experience).

There will arise situations where an individual’s right to independence and decision making will come into conflict with the duty you have to protect that individual. An example of such a conflict is when a client is not willing to take their medication for a serious illness or health problem but it is the social carer workers duty to make sure that the medication is taken. Another situation where such conflict exists would be if a client wants to walk without an aid to the bathroom but their mobility has been reduced and would need to take a walking frame. The individual has the right to their own independence but on the other hand the carer is responsible for ensuring the individual health and safety.

(b) How to manage risk associated with conflicts or dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care. Social care workers have a duty of care to protect clients and keep them from harm, abuse or illness and injury. It is essential to get a full understanding of the risks and consequences. In particular to the situation where a client is refusing to take their medication for a serious illness or health problem but it is the duty of the social worker to make sure that the individual’s medication is taken to prevent the medical condition getting progressively worst. It is not the carer’s role to prevent people from doing what they want but to make sure that the individual knows the consequences of not taking their medication. By explaining the consequences to the client it may reassure them that taking their medication is in their best interests. This would be the best practice as the carer is following their own role and still giving the individual the right to make up their own mind.

(c) Explain where you can get additional support and advice about conflict and dilemmas If a support worker needs additional support regarding any possible conflict they should contact their manager or other senior worker. In my organisation there are quite detailed policies and procedures about wide ranging topics and the support worker should refer back to these procedures for extra guidance. For example there is a set procedure if a person refuses to take their medication and all the steps and subsequent actions are detailed here to provide additional guidance. Similarly there is a set policy and procedure for any medication error. The support worker can refer to this document to find out who to contact, what to do, who to inform and what forms to fill.

If a support worker needs additional or professional advice the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) is a wealth of information. They have a user friendly web site and have excellent code of practice. The NISCC can be contacted for specific advice and for other guidance regarding the implementation of their codes of practice. Likewise the local health and Social care trust, in my case the Western Trust (westerntrust.hscni.net) have policies and procedures for dealing with different dilemmas and conflicts. The Health and Social Care Board responsible for the whole of Northern Ireland can be contacted for additional guidance and specific advice.

Describe how to respond to complaints and outline the main points of agreed procedures for handling complaints in your organisation

A part of a carer’s role may be to support people in making complaints or handling complaints made to them. Carers should respond openly and appropriately to any complaint made to them. The carer should ensure that the person making the complaint understands the process of the complaint procedure and inform their manager that a complaint is being made. Carers should explain how the process works and how long the person will have to wait for a response. The carer should also support the person throughout the complaints procedure. However carer should not attempt to resolve the complaint themselves, discuss the complaint with anyone other than their manager or discourage anyone from making a complaint. A complaints policy should be confidential, fair, useful and easy to understand and follow. It should give people a choice about how to complain.

A complaint policy should also be accessible and explained to people who might want to use it. It should also include a way for people to ask for the complaint to be looked into again. The complaint policy at my organisation is available on all notice boards and at the people we support houses. It details all the steps of the policy and contains specific timelines for the acknowledgement (2 days) and the outcome/progress of the complaint (20 days). It also details an appeal or re-investigation of the complaint and the person responsible, (Chief Executive). My organisations complaint policy also provides contact details for external organisations who can give additional advice or support through the complaints process. Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)

Supporting People (a charity organisation)
The Ombudsman
Equality Commission
In addition there are legal requirements for the complaints policy to follow the Health and Social Care Act 2010 and the national minimum standard.

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