Legal and Ethical Frameworks in Caregiving
About Lesson

Carers must be aware of the legal framework they operate within as well as the ethical standards expected in their profession:

Law: These are the official regulations established by governments and agencies, outlining the mandatory conduct for caregivers.

Ethics: This pertains to the moral guidelines that govern a carer’s behavior, reflecting a commitment to doing what is right and just in the course of their duties.

While some laws encapsulate ethical principles, such as those against abuse, others may not inherently do so, like traffic regulations. Conversely, not all ethical guidelines are enshrined in law, such as the expectation of honesty. Understanding both aspects ensures that carers perform their duties responsibly and with integrity.

As a carer, your primary legal responsibility is avoiding legal action for you and your company. In order to avoid legal action, follow the guidelines outlined below: 

(1) Keep personal information confidential
Do not discuss confidential information with others except your supervisor or other colleagues who are directly involved with the client’s care. Confidential information may include medical, financial, or family issues.
(2) Only perform work assigned
If you perform a task that your supervisor did not assign, you become liable for those actions. A plan is developed for each client that describes exactly what services should be provided. This is called a care plan or support plan. It lists the tasks you should do for this person.
(3) Do not do less work than assigned
When you fail or forget to do all the tasks assigned, you may put your client at risk. As a result of your failure to act, you might be found negligent. Again, you must understand the care or support plan for the client. You must do all the tasks assigned to you as described in the plan – not more and not less.
(4) Avoid doing careless or low-quality work
Carelessly performing tasks might make you liable for damages or injuries. Report abuse and make sure your actions are not considered abusive.

To ensure ethical and responsible conduct in caregiving:

  • Practice honesty by acknowledging your limitations and maintaining integrity in your actions.
  • Show respect for the diverse beliefs and values of individuals.
  • Demonstrate reliability by being punctual and completing your shifts diligently.

For legal diligence:

  • Confidentiality is crucial; only discuss client information with authorized personnel.
  • Adhere to assigned tasks to avoid liability issues.
  • Complete all assigned work as neglect can lead to negligence.
  • Maintain quality in your work to prevent harm and report any abuse.

These guidelines help protect both the carer and the agency from legal repercussions while fostering a trustworthy care environment.

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