Duty of Care Essay

Introduction

This unit will look at the importance of ‘Duty of Care’ within the health and social care area. It will aid in helping to identify standards of care required by carers and the actions needed to be implemented in order to maintain high quality care.

The courts have identified what standards of care a person can expect from those providing it: i.e. what a ‘reasonable person would think is reasonable’ in the circumstance. In English Tort law a duty of care (or depict in Scots law) is a legal obligation imposed on the person requiring that they adhere to a standard of reasonable care whilst performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. It requires that everything reasonably practicable be done to protect the health and safety and wellbeing of others.

The standard of care an individual that you may care for or support is entitled to;

Care that meets the persons identified needs

Person centred planning around the person

Support to maintain independence

Well-trained staff

Care that meets the minimum standards as set down in law

Each person that we support has a right to expect a good standard of care which we need to uphold. By understanding and acknowledging people’s rights we gain greater awareness of circumstances which might give rise to concerns. Often it is when a person’s rights are breached that we become aware that we have a ‘duty of care’ to alert another person to a situation that may make a person we care for or support vulnerable or at risk.

There are a variety of terms that need to be understood in order to fully understand what constitutes ‘duty of care’, such terms include;

‘Duty of care’ is a requirement that a person act towards others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and the prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for damages

‘Reasonably practicable’ means that the requirements of the law vary with the degree of risk in a particular activity or environment which must be balanced against the time, trouble and cost of taking measures to control the risk. It enables the duty holder to choose the most efficient means for controlling a particular risk from the range of feasible possibilities. The duty holder must show that it was not reasonably practicable to do more than what was done or that he/she has taken ‘reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence’

‘Public Interest’ is anything affecting the rights, health or finances of the public at large. It is something that is of general benefit to the public or to which the general public would feel a ‘need to know’ in the general populations best interests.

‘Whistle blowing’ A whistleblower is a person who raises a concern about wrongdoing occurring in an organisation or body of people. Usually this person would be an employee from that same organisation. The revealed misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example, to other people within the accused organisation) or externally (to service commissioners, social services, regulators, Care Standards, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues). ‘Whistle blowing’ is technically known as ‘Public interest disclosure’. The Law guarantees you protection in reporting abuse and neglect, where to do so could cause you difficulties with your employer.

We have a responsibility to the people we support particularly if those people are vulnerable. Listening and observation skills are especially important to develop when we support others. When considering safe practice we have to understand that care and support encompasses a wide area. If, for example;

We fail to report that we have observed that a person has a sore spot on the base of their spine, in a short time, that could develop into a pressure sore. If we see a colleague shouting or treating a person they support harshly, could that lead to abuse if we fail to use our ‘duty of care’ and report it?

Three criteria must be met for negligence to be proven and be actionable in the courts:

The ‘duty of care’ must actually be owed to a person

That ‘duty’ must have been breached

Harm must have been suffered as a result

Whether negligence has occurred is a matter of fact for the courts to decide. Where the ‘duty of care’ has been breached because the acts or omissions of a health or social care worker fell below those of the ‘ordinarily competent’ health or social care worker, it is important to bear in mind that it will be no defence to argue:

That the shortcomings in not acting occurred because of a person’s inexperience

If the task or circumstances required a person of a particular skill or standard, then if someone was too inexperienced to practise safely, they should have made that clear to their line manager or senior professional. In turn the supervising professional should have taken responsibility for checking that tasks are only delegated to, or undertaken by, competent staff.

Learning Outcomes & Assessment Criteria Mapping

The questions below target the following assessment criteria: Learning Outcome

Assessment Criteria the learner can

Question

4222-204 (Diploma) Outcome 1. Understand the meaning of duty of care 1.1. Define the term ‘duty of care’1.2. Describe how the duty of care affects own work role

4229-205 (Tech Cert) Outcome 1. Understand the Implications of Duty of Care 1.1. Define the term ‘duty of care’1.2. Describe how the duty of care affects own work role

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Common Induction Standards Outcome 5.1. Understand how duty of care contributes to safe practice 5.1.1. Explain what it means to have a duty of care in your work role 2

5.1.2. Explain how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals 3

4222-204 (Diploma) Outcome 2. Understand support available for addressing dilemmas that may arise about duty of care 2.1. Describe the dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights 4

2.2. Explain where to get additional support and advice about how to resolve such dilemmas 4

4229-205 (Tech Cert) Outcome 2. Understand Support Available for Addressing Dilemmas that may arise about duty of care 2.1. Describe the dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights 4

2.2. Explain where to get additional support and advice about how to resolve such dilemmas 4

Common Induction Standards Outcome 5.2. Know how to address dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care 5.2.1. Be aware of potential dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights 4

5.2.3. Know who to ask for advice about anything you feel uncomfortable about in relation to dilemmas in your work 4

4222-204 (Diploma) Outcome 3. Know how to respond to complaints

3.1. Describe how to respond to complaints

3.2. Identify the main points of agreed procedures for handling complaints 8

4229-205 (Tech Cert) Outcome 3. Know how to respond to complaints 3.1. Describe how to respond to complaints

5,7

3.2. Identify the main points of agreed procedures for handling complaints 8

Common Induction Standards Outcome 5.3. Know how to recognise and handle comments and complaints. How to record and report information 5.3.2. Know what you can and cannot do within your role in handling comments and

complaints and how you should respond 4

5.3.4. Recognise the importance of learning from comments and complaints to improve the quality of service 9

Duty of Care

Q1. Define the term ‘duty of care’

(Guidance SCILS Hand-out 1)

Duty of care, in any setting, is the level of service that is expected, as a minimum, to be provided. In health care and social care, this may include: act in the best interests of individuals. Do not act or fail to act in a way that could cause harm, always act within your own competence and do not do something which you can not do safely.

Q2. How does duty of care affect your work role

Guidance: SCILS Hand-out

How it affects work role

It means the duty of care I have in my job is to keep yourself safe and the individuals safe. Keeping up to date on my training. Adhering to the policies and procedures that reflect the CQC Standards. Promoting health and safety regulations and ensuring these are adhered to, reporting and hazards or risks to my line managers Promoting personal hygiene to both individuals and team members. Provide an example

Reflect over the individuals Care Plans and Essential Life style plans, ensuring these documents are updated accordingly. Reporting any health and safety issues to the health and safety rep or my line manager. Highlighting any new risks that have been identified to these can be minimised. Ensuing all policies and procedures have been read, understood and signed. Attending all mandatory training.

Q3. How could your ‘duty of care’ contribute to….

(Guidance: SCILS Hand-out 3b)

Safe Practice

Unsafe Practice

Ensuring when administering medication, the correct procedures are followed. Checking the individuals care plan as to what support is required. Ensuring the medications agrees with the mars sheets times, dosage and route of administration. Ensuring the correct individual is present and I have observed the medication being taken. Filling in the mars sheet according to the correct time and date. Not reflecting over the mars sheet details and care plan.

Assuming not changes have been made and not checking.

Not signing for the medication.

Leaving medication out where it is accessible to others.

Ensuing all documents are filled in accurately and accordingly. All changes are highlighted to all team members and the line manager. Updating risk assessments according to hazards identified. Not reporting hazards to the line manager of the health and safety rep. Not filling in documents of relevant changes or informing the team or line manager.

Dilemmas and Support

Q4. Describe dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights (Guidance: SCILS Hand-out 3c + 4)

Dilemma

What additional support and advice would resolve this dilemma? Refusing medication

To explain to the individual why the medication needs to be take, risk to health and other implications. Speak to team member and line manager as they may provide support to speak to the individual with a more positive outcome. Speak to GP, Learning disability nurse or medical professionals. Ensure it is documented in case of further issues. This may lead to a Best Interest meeting. Activities that may cause harm

Speak to the individual about the risks that have been identified. Discuss with them on how these risks could be minimised to ensure safety. Document in care plan and essential life style plan. Seek support from line manger on how this can be effectively supported. Best interest meeting my be required to see if the individual has the capacity to make the relevant decisions.

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Complaints

Q5. It is important to have a policy instructing on how to deal with complaints to ensure that everyone knows what to do and in what timescales. It is very important that you know the procedure for your work situation. These are legal and regulatory factors to consider and statutory bodies to be informed.

Can you name some of these?

(Guidance: SCILS Hand-out 4)

Fylde Community link work in line with legislations-

The Health and Social Care Act 2008

Regulated Activities regulations 2010

There a complaints process in place, complaints will be recorded for statistical purposes and communicated to the staff members concerned. The organisation welcomes complaints as the information from investigations will provided additional learning and help improve services. A complaint can be made to any staff member who will fill in a complaint form in order to record what has been said and immediately inform their line manager. Complaint regarding staff member should be made to the Chief Executive. If a complainant is not satisfied with the response the matter will be escalated to the Board of Directors/ Trustee’s. If still not satisfied with the outcome it can be taken to the Local Authority or the local government ombudsman.

Q7. Describe how to respond to complaints

(Guidance SCILS Hand-Out)

A complaint can be made to any staff member who will fill in a complaint form in order to record what has been said and immediately inform their line manager. Feed back form can be obtained for relatives who wish to comment on any aspect of the service.

Q8. Describe the process of handling complaints from a service user (Guidance SCILS Hand-Out)

A complaint can be made to any staff member who will fill in a complaint form in order to record what has been said and immediately inform their line manager.

Q9. How can complaints help your workplace learn and identify actions or changes that are needed after a complaint has been received? (Guidance SCILS Hand-Out)

There a complaints process in place, complaints will be recorded for statistical purposes and communicated to the staff members concerned. The organisation welcomes complaints as the information from investigations will provided additional learning and help improve services.

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1.1 Explain what it means to have a duty of care in own work role. A duty of care is an obligation that any child or young person that is in your care is well looked after and is not harmed in a particular task. Within the setting in which I work I would carry out daily checks to ensure that my setting from the inside and outside are safe before the children arrive. I would also make sure that I keep up to date with my first aid and that the first aid box is fully stocked. Finally I would also make sure that accident forms are completed in the event of an accident occurring and that all parents are fully informed, who then sign any forms that would need to be filled out.

1.2 Explain how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals. In your role you have a duty of care to raise any concerns you may have about any aspects of your work. This could be poor working conditions, poor equipment, poor practice by other members of staff and also raising concern about potential abuse cases and signs of neglect. As a nursery practitioner it is my duty of care to safeguard individuals from harm. All employees should report any signs/ concerns of abuse. These might include evidence or suspicions of bad practice by members of staff and managers, or abuse could be by another individual, another worker or it could be anyone. If you have any concerns at any time, you should discuss this matter with your manager. Know how to address conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care.

2.1 Describe potential conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care. Conflicts and dilemma that may arise between the duty of care and individuals rights could be staff having a difference of opinion over an individual. An example of this may be a staff member believing they have signs of abuse and another staff member thinking they don’t, this could lead to conflict between the individual’s family/carers if the staff start to involve other agencies such as Social Services. Dilemma could be knowing when to get further help regarding child/adult protection and safeguarding issues, an example of this may be that you did not refer the case to social services that individual might still continue to suffer from any sort of abuse. Other dilemmas in a setting could be: Staff falling out

Break confidentiality

Swearing and inappropriate behaviour

Absent staff members

Lack of team work

2.2 Describe how to manage risks associated with conflicts or dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care. There are many ways to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas: Allowing individuals to explore with guidance

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Making individuals aware of potential hazards and dangers that are there Allowing individuals to acquire life skills through learning how to cope with risky situations, Staff ignorance

Parents are a risk to staff if reported to social services

2.3 Explain where to get additional support and advice about conflicts and dilemmas. Colleagues

The person’s family and friends

GP

Care professionals

Advocates

Union official

Regulators

Know how to respond to complaints

3.1 Describe how to respond to complaints

Responding to complaints, whether made by a parent or a staff colleague, you should always keep professional and listen to what the person has to say. You should keep calm and by being respectful and apologising when necessary which helps to diffuse potential conflict. Complaints need to be resolved as quickly as possible and constructively to avoid creating a bad atmosphere for all those involved. When responding to a complaint, it is important to listen to the other person’s point of view. You should avoid making personal comments and focus on the facts throughout. Always apologise if you are wrong and explain how you will resolve the situation. 3.2 Explain the main points of agreed procedures for handling complaints. Never ignore

Stay calm

Take down any key points

Be understanding and reassure the parents

Deal with the situation if you are able to

Pass the complaint over to the correct person to rectify

If the complaint can’t be solved the parents have a right to take this complaint to OFSTED.

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Duty of Care Essay

1.1

“Duty of care” means to provide care and support to individuals within the law and also within the policies, procedures and agreed ways to work. It is about keeping the service users independence, to support and enable them to live within an environment free from prejudice and safe from abuse. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, choices and we should respect that at all times while promoting them as an individual.

1.2

By working within standards set out and within our own capacity we will prevent harm from occurring to ourselves, others and the individual. By giving an individual choice and respecting their views/wishes they know that their independence has not been taken from them, giving them more confidence if an issue of safeguarding etc. were to arise.

To understand and be able to pass on the procedures in place if we are suspicious or aware of abuse, an individual being endangered or poor work practice by another carer or agency. Reporting, recording are the steps needed to ensure that any form of safeguarding or protection issues are dealt with immediately and correctly.

2.1

While working in care, the aim is to give the best possible standard of care to service users, but sometimes there can be a conflict beetween the individual’s or their family’s wishes and rights and the duty of care. In this case the most important thing is to decide whether the person is aware of the risks and consequences of the decision and has the capacity to make the decision. Before taking best interest decisions I have to make sure that the person definitely lacks the capacity. The person or their next of kin has an overall right and responsibility in decision making for issues relating their care, and I need their consent to deal with certain issues. When a dilemma arises, my responsibility is to support individuals or their families to make informed choices. Even if I disagree with their decision, I can only give advice but can not force them.

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