When you work in health and social care, you have a duty to take good care of people, promote their welfare, and guard against anything that may cause serious harm. Duty of care in health and social care cannot be declined, it is a legal obligation that one has to uphold at all times.
1. What is Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
When you pursue a career in health and social care, you’ll get all the knowledge you need to become a specialist in a particular field of care, and will learn everything about your duty of care. It starts to apply the moment a person receives care or treatment.
You are obligated to accept it by law and cannot refuse to do so. Working in health and social care also allows you to give services to those who need assistance with their physical and mental health.
In this post, we’ll discuss what is duty of care in health and social care, how it relates to safeguarding, and how to uphold it even in the face of possible conflict.
1.1. Which Individuals are Subject to the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
A firm in an office building would owe a duty of care to its staff and customers. If you were employed by a hospital, you would have a duty of care to the medical staff, paramedical staff, healthcare support workers, maintenance workers, and all other staff hired by the hospital.
Another example would be working in home care, where you would probably do your work in different homes. Every person and other worker you come across in the neighbourhood is subject to your responsibility of care. Duty of care is inherent in any circumstances.
This is due to the fact that these settings frequently provide care for individuals who are most vulnerable to violence or abuse, such as children or adults who require support.
1.2. Conducting the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
A Code of Conduct was created to establish the rules and expectations for health and social care workers because of the duties that being a care worker entails.
This demonstrates how important it is to understand the role of care and get equipped with the information, skills, and expertise necessary to carry them out professionally. To fully comprehend the guidelines of adult care, refer to “Main Principle of the Care Act 2014.”
The Care Certificate, a certification that all health and social care workers must earn during their probationary term, is facilitated by the Code of Conduct.
1.3. How Does Duty of Care in Health and Social Care Contribute to Providing Safety
The duty of care in health and social care is to ensure the safety of vulnerable sections of society by preventing disease, abuse, damage, or injury to service users. The caretaker should identify the areas that need attention, report the issues in a coordinated manner, and raise concerns.
The organisations they are associated with will have established protocols for dealing with potentially dangerous circumstances. It is important for the person who is providing care to know about their limitations too. It is also a duty of care to communicate any concern about someone’s well-being to the relevant party so that they take appropriate action.
1.4. Guide for Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
Duty of Care serves as a guide for dealing with everything from regular duties to significant problems in real-world situations. How? Read on.
- Communication is a crucial component of the duty of care. It enables one to comprehend the client’s needs and extend care to carry out their function.
- Resolving the issues related to suspected abuse or neglect. A significant aspect of the responsibility while responding to these issues is to follow the policies and established working procedures at the place of employment. As part of the duty of care in health and social care, one responds appropriately to disputes and reports concerns.
- Protect individuals’ rights, such as before entering their room asking for permission or getting their permission before browsing through their stuff.
- Conducting risk assessments to ensure that the person is not in danger and to safeguard them from danger.
- Developing care plans for every person to ensure that their care is person-centred and takes into account their unique needs and objectives.
- Providing appropriate training so that employees are aware of their roles and are able to spot any security concerns, and take appropriate action.
The main components of duty of care in health and social care are highlighted above and are explained in detail in this write-up below.
1.5. Promote Individuals Independence as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
There may be times when the service users who are provided with care and assistance make decisions that may be unsafe and inappropriate for them.
For instance, when a person with a handicap wishes to begin a new physical activity, or someone sick may desire to eat unhealthy food. The patient must be given informed decisions and should be made aware of what could happen if they chose that option.
Employees in the health and social care fields are not permitted to restrict people’s ability to make decisions that they are legally entitled to make.
1.6. Risk Assessments Done as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
A risk assessment could be the best line of action if the person insists on making the risky choice despite your concerns.
The health and social care worker should involve their employer when making decisions about risk assessments, risk enablement and safeguarding wellbeing.
One may also seek additional support from the patient’s family and friends, a lawyer, their doctor or fellow co-workers. The duty of care in health and social care is to keep track of any changes that were implemented to the individual’s personal care plan so that others are informed of the situation
1.7. Care Plans as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
The service provider must give each person exclusive attention who requests assistance. This enables them to design a thorough, individualised care plan that is person-centred and appropriately evaluates their care requirements.
The care plan is a recorded document that is updated as the individual’s requirements change. Care providers are expected to adhere to the care plan because it provides a reliable, safe service and is a legitimate management guideline.
1.8. Analysing Mental Capacity as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
Some people who are provided with care and support are not capable of understanding informed choices, and taking decisions, and are not aware of further implications of their decisions. Decisions made on behalf of them must be made by keeping the person’s best interests in mind.
An Act of Parliament known as the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is applicable to both England and Wales. The Act’s goal is to safeguard and give authority to persons who might not be able to make their own decisions regarding their healthcare and treatment due to certain conditions such as a person in a coma or suffering from physical or mental health-related issues.
The duty of care in health and social care is to ensure that such people must be treated fairly, and all decisions made on their behalf should be done according to patients’ rights.
1.9. Situations that Need Immediate Intervention as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
The poor working conditions, which implies working more hours than specified in the contract, or giving salaries that do not adhere to the state’s legal and professional obligation.
- Use, such as failing to uphold the respect and rights of individuals.
- Regular practices to uphold the responsibility of care include fire drills, consensus on handling medication, handling toxic substances, food preparation and food storage procedures.
- It’s crucial to remember that different workplaces will have different established ways of functioning.
- The accepted methods of functioning must be a recorded process.
1.10. The Six C’s Required for the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
The 6Cs were drawn by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England. These values and their corresponding attitudes and behaviours support the high-quality care provided by nurses, midwives, and care professionals.
Associating them together creates a vision, a chance to emphasise the lasting values and ideas that drive care.
The 6Cs are as follows:
These are the ideals that underpin the Compassion in Practice method. To ensure that everyone is working toward the same objective, the 6Cs act as a set of standards for duty of care in health and social care.
1.11. Addressing the Complaints and Concerns as Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
It is the duty of health and social care workers to ensure that everyone is aware of their rights to complain or comment on their care or assistance. Some people might need further assistance before they can complain or give suggestions. Examples of situations in which someone might require more assistance include:
- Whenever someone requires assistance with reading or writing because they have literacy problems.
- When they require communication assistance.
- Sometimes special formats are required for certain forms.
- If someone has a complaint or comment, the employer must be consulted by the healthcare support workers on how to provide help in positive ways.
The legal requirements on how local government social services departments and NHS organisations must handle complaints are specified in these laws.
1.12. Legal Requirement for Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
The following are a few legislative acts that establish guidelines for handling problems to enhance services and achieve desirable results in the fields of health and social care.
- 1974 The Health and Safety at Work Act: This law serves as the primary framework for occupational health and safety in the UK. It imposes a responsibility on both employers and employees to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of people at work.
- 1999’s Management of Health and Safety Regulations: States that there should be a process in place at every workplace for documenting, reporting, and assessing all major occurrences. This law also provides guidance on how to prevent future mishaps.
- 2013’s The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR): It is a legal duty of care to notify their local Health and Safety Executive of workplace accidents, occupational illnesses, and dangerous situations.
- 2002’s The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH): Companies must evaluate the risks associated with handling toxic substances and take measures against substance misuse. Examples of substances that may cause risk are cleaning supplies, and prescribed drugs.
- 1998 The Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER): This regulation places the responsibility for work equipment on the authorised hired entities, and it states how they should ensure that the unsafe equipment is not used, they are well maintained, subject to routine inspections, and only used by knowledgeable and qualified personnel. Legal action is taken in case any of the above prohibitions are broken, and criminal charges are pressed against the violator of the above.
As obvious from above the duty of care in health and social care is promoting people’s well-being and rights. Additionally, it is the carer’s responsibility to protect their legal rights and protect them from potentially harmful situations.
Adult health and social care workers must support the independence of the service users and their ability to make their own choices. They should respect their decisions and not limit them if they are mentally capable, which is the same as being legally capable.