1. Understand the implications of duty of care.
1.1 Duty of care is the legal obligation to safeguard others including the people you support, their families, other co-workers and any others you come into contact with whilst doing your job. However these people also have a duty of care to you. I.e. Employers have a duty of care towards their staff and clients and their families have a duty of care towards you whilst you are in their homes i.e. refraining from smoking and ensuring their homes are safe for you to work in.
1.2 Duty of care is important to safe practise. For a care worker to take responsible care they must: Adhere to the care plan set in place; Keep records up to date and written clearly and accurately; keep up to date with their own knowledge and skills; report and discrepancies in the care plan or disputes; respect and protect confidential information and maintain client confidentiality; maintain good communication with other involved with the clients care such as family members. Nurses, other healthcare professionals or agencies.
2. Understand support available for addressing dilemmas that may arise about duty of care.
2.1 Conflicts arise when the care assistant’s duty of care clashes with the wishes of the clients. A decision in the best interest of the client can only be made against their wishes if the client is incapable of making the decision for themselves. Before making a decision in the client’s best interest you need to be sure that the client does not have the capacity to make that decision for themselves. Therefore it is important to support people to make their own informed choices. Communicate with the client and try to explain your reasons why you feel that their decision would not be in their best interest and what the possible outcome would result if they made that decision. For instance Mrs T had been using a bed pan for nearly four years and was used to going to the toilet this way. However she had started to develop sores which the carer could see were being aggravated by the pan. Mrs T insisted it had never been a problem before. The O.T. suggests that Mrs T use a commode whilst the sores heal but Mrs T is not happy using the commode. She cannot see how bad the sores have become. The carer took a photo of the sores to show Mrs T how bad they were. Mrs T then agreed to give the commode a try. If she had not agreed to this however the care assistant would have to respect Mrs T`s wishes to carry on using the bed pan. The carer should report this to the line manager who could discuss with her family as to what to do.
2.2 The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is set in place to provide a framework to protect and empower people who may not have the capacity to make decisions about their care. It is important to let people make their own decisions when and where possible as to take away their choice is unsustaining and degrading and can lead to depression and render them more dependant.
The MCA states:
Assume people have capacity unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise
Do everything we can to maximise that persons capacity to make their own