Diploma Guidelines: Social Care Worker Best Practices in Handling Information

Prepare a set of guidelines to remind social care workers of best practice in handling information.

In the guidelines, you must:

Bi Explain how to maintain records so that they are up to date, complete, accurate and legible.

Bii Describe how to ensure records are stored securely.

Biii Describe how to ensure security when reading or making entries into records.

Biv Describe any special feature of different storage systems that help to ensure security.

BEST PRACTICE FOR HANDLING INFORMATION

Guidelines for Social Care Workers

These guidelines are written for social care workers and aim to explain best practices for handling information including record maintenance, storage and security.

Record Maintenance

All records should be written neatly and legibly in black ink and should be clear, concise, factual and accurate. Any errors should be clearly marked by putting a line through it and initialing and all forms should be completed pro-forma. This will ensure that all records are understandable to anyone reading them and all the necessary details are included.

Records should be completed as soon as is practicably possible so that it is fresh in your memory and should be kept up-to-date. They should be completed in private with no risk of being observed by unauthorised individuals. The time, date, your signature and printed name should be included on all records to ensure transparency and accountability.

Record Storage

Records should be stored in accordance with legislation, company policies and best practices.

This means ensuring they are stored in a safe place that cannot be accessed by anyone unauthorised. This may mean in a locked room or a locked drawer.

Records should not be removed from the workplace unless absolutely necessary and returned to secure storage as soon as they’ve been updated.

Electronic records should be stored securely as well with password protection and permissions so that only authorised personnel can access them.

Records should be kept only for as long as needed and then disposed of properly (e.g. shredded).

Ensure Security When Reading/Updating Records

As mentioned previously, records should only be read or updated in a secure and private location that is free from prying eyes. You should also ensure that nobody can overhear you when talking about personal information. Once you have finished reading or updating, the records should be returned to their secure storage immediately. Electronic documents should not be left open on a computer if you have to leave. You should either close them once you have finished or lock your computer if you move away from it.

Special Features of Storage Systems

Paper records are usually stored securely in cabinets or drawers that are protected by a lock and key. They will also be stored in a locked room. Only authorised people will have access to them because only they will have the key.

Electronic records should always be password protected and stored on secure computer systems. Only people that have the password or have been given authorisation on their user account will be able to access them.

Diploma Health & Safety Handout 3: Hazardous Substances

You have been asked to prepare three hand outs for new staff attending an induction. The hand outs are to provide information on the following topics.

This hand out must include:

Cvi A description of:
a) The types of hazardous substances that may be found in social care settings.
b) The main points of the procedures for handling medication.

Cvii An explanation of:
 a) Safe practices for storing, using and disposing of hazardous substances, including medication, safely.
b) The dangers associated with not following safe practices.

HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

for Inductees

This handout provides information to new staff about the importance of controlling hazardous substances.

Types of Hazardous Substances

There are several types of hazardous substances that may be found in a social care setting.

Medication may be beneficial to an individual but can be harmful if taken by others that have not been prescribed it, so it must be controlled.

Bodily fluids (urine, semen etc.) can be harmful to others, especially if it is from somebody with an illness or infection.

Some substances, such as bleach or paint, are toxic which means they are poisonous to humans. Other substances, such as detergent, can be an irritant which means it can cause itching soreness and discomfort.

Handling Medication

Medication should be handled in line with legislation and company policies and procedures.

Support staff should ensure that medication is ordered ahead of time and when received the name, dosage and amount should be recorded along with whom the medication is for. It should then be stored in a locked drawer or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Weekly drug stock checks should be performed.

When administering medication, it should be recorded on a MAR sheet. Hands should be washed thoroughly before administering medication and if direct contact is needed then gloves should be worn. The individual, medication, dosage, time and any special instructions should be checked before administration.

If medication is no longer required, it should be returned to the pharmacy and an inventory of what has been returned should be signed by the pharmacist.

Safe Practices

Hazardous substances should be stored, used and disposed of according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which can be found on the packaging.

They should only be stored in their correct and labelled containers, and ideally in a secure area.

You should always read the label before using a hazardous substance and some substances may only be used by someone with relevant training. Personal Protective Equipment should be used where necessary and substances should not be mixed.

Any problems should be reported immediately.

Dangers

If safe practices are not followed correctly, it can result in serious harm, illness or death to yourself or others.

In addition, it would contravene legislation and company policies and procedures, which could lead to disciplinary action, dismissal and potential legal action against you.

It may also result in others using hazardous substances incorrectly.

Diploma Health & Safety Handout 2: Infection Control

You have been asked to prepare three hand outs for new staff attending an induction. The hand outs are to provide information on the following topics.

Hand out 2 – Infection control

This hand out must include:

Ciii  A description of the different routes through which infection can get into the body.

Civ   An explanation of:
a) Prevention methods including hand washing, the social care workers and other’s personal hygiene.
b) The social care workers role in supporting others to promote best practice in infection control.

Cv An evaluation of:
a) Different types of personal protective equipment (PPE).
b) How using PPE can help to prevent the spread of infection.

INFECTION CONTROL

for Inductees

This handout provides information to new staff about the importance of infection control.

Routes of Infection

Infections can enter the body via several different routes:

  • Respiratory – pathogens in the air are breathed into the lungs
  • Breaks in skin – pathogens enter the bloodstream through the skin via cuts, needle pricks, insect bites etc.
  • Digestive tract – pathogens are ingested in food or drink (or other items that go into the mouth)
  • Bodily fluids – pathogens enter the body via bodily fluids (e.g. semen during sexual intercourse)

Prevention

Infection can be prevented by maintaining a high level of hygiene.

This means washing hands thoroughly and regularly and always before handling food or medication.

The workplace should be kept clean and tidy and surfaces cleaned with antibacterial wipes or spray. Toilets and sinks should be cleaned with bleach regularly.

Food should be stored correctly and thrown away when it has gone past its use-by date. Bins should be emptied regularly.

Legislation should be adhered to (COSHH, RIDDOR etc.) and illness should be prevented from spreading by using tissues when coughing or sneezing and avoiding close contact.

A social care worker also has the responsibility to promote best practices for hygiene to their colleagues and other individuals in the service setting to prevent the risk of infection. This can mean encouraging individuals to maintain a high level of hygiene (reminding them to wash their hands after going to the toilet, prompting them to clean their kitchen etc.)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is used to protect individuals from potential infection by creating a protective barrier between people and pathogens.

Types of PPE include:

  • Gloves – protect the hands from picking up pathogens and spreading them via touch
  • Aprons – prevents pathogens being transferred via clothing
  • Masks – prevents pathogens being breathed into the lungs
  • Hair nets – prevents contamination via hair.

Diploma Health & Safety Handout 1: Moving & Handling

You have been asked to prepare three hand outs for new staff attending an induction. The hand outs are to provide information on the following topics.

Hand out 1 – Moving and handling

This hand out must include:

Ci   A description of the main points of health and safety legislation that relates to moving and handling.

Cii Explanations of:
a) How following principles for safe moving and handling protects those in social care setting from injury or harm.
b) The consequences of not following an individual’s care plan or engaging with them when assisting moving and handling.
c) Situations that may require additional supports necessary for safer moving and handling.

MOVING & HANDLING

for Inductees

This handout provides information to new staff about the importance of moving and handling correctly.

Legislation

As well as the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, there is additional legislation governing moving and handling.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992/2002 explains how to avoid, assess and reduce risk of injury from manual handling.

The Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 is a code of practice that applies to the use of lifting equipment.

Purpose

The purpose of this legislation together with company policies is to protect everybody from harm or injury that could be caused from incorrect moving and handling.

By following the principles of safe moving and handling you will minimise risk of injury, be able to identify potential hazards and work with others to develop safer ways of working, which will protect everybody in your setting. You will also be able to identify areas where you or others may need additional training, such as how to use a piece of equipment safely.

Consequences

If you do not follow an individual’s care plan or do not engage with them when assisting moving and handling, you could cause harm or injury to them or yourself. This could also lead to disciplinary action, dismissal or legal action.

Their care plan has been meticulously written to ensure that procedures are carried out in the safest way possible and cutting corners increase the risk of harm.

If you do not work in partnership with the individual in assisted moving/handling, they will not know what it is that you are doing and what they can do to help. It can also cause them anxiety. All individuals have the right to be involved in all aspects of their care and to have their needs and preferences respected. Failure to do so can result in a breakdown of the relationship you have with them and their refusal to work with you as well as it being against the law.

Additional Support

Certain situations may require additional support for moving and handling from others or from equipment.

Some items may be too heavy to move easily or too bulky, awkward or unstable.

The environment may be cramped or have insufficient room to manoeuvre.

You may not have the correct equipment, the equipment may not work correctly or you have not had the training to use the equipment.

Poster Explaining Factors That Can Contribute to the Well-Being of Individuals

Your work is running a campaign to improve staff understanding of all aspects of person centred care.

You have been asked to create the following materials:

Aiii       A poster that explains the factors which can contribute to the wellbeing of individuals

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO AN INDIVIDUAL’S WELL-BEING

Physical Health (e.g. diet, sleep, exercise etc.)

Health

Social (e.g. relationships with friends and family, opportunity to meet new people etc.)

Social

Financial (e.g. having enough money, not overspending etc.)

Financial

Psychological (e.g. feeling safe, having someone to talk to etc.)

Psychological

Cultural (e.g. being able to live the life that they choose, having views and opinions respected by others etc.)

Cultural

Religious (e.g. having the freedom to practice their religious beliefs, having religious views respected by others etc.)

Religious

Self-esteem (e.g. feeling of belonging, being able to make a positive contribution to society etc.)

Self-esteem

Political (e.g. living in a fair and democratic society, having political opinions respected etc.)

Political

 

Dealing with Complaints Guidance Notes

Write a set of guidance notes for social care workers to help them deal with complaints.

In the notes, you must:

Ci     Explain legal and organisational requirements for dealing with complaints.

Cii    Describe how best to respond to complaints from service users, other practitioners and the family of service users.

It is a legal requirement that all complaints are listened to and dealt with in a compassionate and timely fashion, as documented in the Health and Social Care Act and CQC’s Essential Standards. All care providers must have a complaints system in place so that they can be handled and responded to. It must be investigated thoroughly and appropriate action should be taken if any problems are identified.

Clients Should Know They Can Complain

First and foremost, it is essential that if a client has a complaint about their service provision, they are aware that there is a system in place to take their complaints seriously. Even if you believe that the client does not have the mental capacity to make a complaint or that they may abuse the system by making unsubstantiated claims, they must still be informed of their right to make complaints. If requested, individuals are entitled to a copy of the complaints policy and procedure. This goes for their family members as well.

Complaints Procedure

We have a complaints policy and procedure, which is available in the employee handbook and online.

If somebody wishes to make a complaint verbally then you should take as much time as needed to listen to them attentively and be respectful about what they are saying, whilst recording what they are saying on a complaints form. Alternatively, if the individual wants to fill in the complaint form themselves, you can simply give them the form. Some people may not be able to write their complaint, so assistance should be given. You should write their complaint down in their words and not your own. If the individual seems uncomfortable with making the complaint to you, then you should advise them that another staff member can take their complaint instead, if they would prefer.

If the complaint is relatively minor or the complainant was did not have all the information, then it may be possible for the first responder to resolve the complaint through explanation, however, the nature of the complaint should still be documented.

After the complaint has been made and documented, senior staff should be made aware of the complaint so that an investigation can take place. The complainant should also be informed about what will happen next.

The investigation will be conducted by a senior member of staff who is independent of the scope of the complaint to avoid prejudice. The complainant will be responded to within two days to acknowledge the complaint and the investigation will begin with 5 days.

All complaints will be dealt with within 14 days and contact will be made with the complainant to discuss the outcome. All complaints will be resolved within 28 days, however If the complainant is not happy with the outcome of their complaint, they can escalate it to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Handout Explaining the Importance of Person-Centred Values

Your work is running a campaign to improve staff understanding of all aspects of person centred care.

You have been asked to create the following materials:

[Aii] A hand out which explains why person centred values are important and how they influence social care work

PERSON CENTRED VALUES IN SOCIAL CARE

Why Are Person-Centred Values Important?

Person-centred values are of the utmost importance in social care because they put the individual at the heart of their support.

It is based on the premise that an individual is the expert in what support they require and should work closely with health professionals and others including their family, relations and friends to devise the support plan that is best for them.

Person-centred values include:

  • Individuality – Everyone is an individual with their own needs, goals, beliefs and values.
  • Choice – Everyone should be free to make their own choices in life and be given the information they need to make decisions in a way that they can understand.
  • Independence – Everyone should be empowered to do as much as possible for themselves.
  • Rights – Everyone has human rights that should be respected and upheld.
  • Privacy – Everyone has the right to their own private space and time and their private information should only be shared on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
  • Dignity – Everyone deserves to be treated in a dignified manner and time should be taken to ensure they are treated with dignity.
  • Respect – Everyone should have their thought, opinions and beliefs respected even if others do not agree with them.
  • Partnership – Everyone involved in an individual’s care should work together to achieve the best possible outcomes. This includes the individual, their families and health professionals.

How Do Person-Centred Values Influence Social Care Work?

With regards social care work, person centred values should be used to ensure that the care and support an individual receives is unique to them and that they are that the centre of the decision-making process.

Individuals should not be required to fit in with a ‘one size fits all’ system. They should not have to change the way they live to get support, the service provider should change their way of working to fit in with the individual.

The personal beliefs and opinions of the individual should be respected, even if employees of the service provider disagree with them.

Similarly, any decisions that an individual makes should be respected and they should be given the support to follow through with their decisions even if employees of the service provider deem them to be unwise or they go against their own personal beliefs.

Service providers must get to know the individuals that they are supporting in order to understand and provide the support that they need. As well as communicating with the individual, the service provider can get information from the individual’s family and friends as well as other health and social care professionals.

Explain where a social care worker can find advice, support and information relating to conflicts and dilemmas in adult social care.

Social care workers can find advice, support and information about conflicts and dilemmas from several sources.

Speaking to the individual themselves when they are in a calm state is perhaps one of the best ways of finding out ways to resolve or come to a compromise about any conflicts or dilemmas that affect their support. Speaking to their family or close friends can also be beneficial.

Conversing with other staff and my manager is also a good way to get guidance and new ideas as well as talking to other professionals that are involved in an individual’s care, such as their GP, social worker, psychologist etc.

I can also obtain guidance from my company’s policies and procedure as well as industry best practices such as CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry. The Internet is also a useful resource.

Poster Describing Person-Centred Approaches

Your work is running a campaign to improve staff understanding of all aspects of person centred care.

You have been asked to create the following materials:

[Ai] A poster which describes a range of person centred approaches to care

ARE YOU WORKING IN A PERSON-CENTRED WAY?

Do you communicate in the way your clients want to communicate?

Communication

Do your clients choose the activities that they participate in?

Activities

Do you promote freedom of choice for your clients?

Choice

Do you involve your clients in decisions about the support you provide?

Support

Do you see your clients as individuals?

Individual

Do you encourage your clients to pursue their own goals, even if you do not agree with them?

Goals

If you can answer ‘YES’ to all these questions, Well Done! You are working in a person-centred way.

If not, please take a leaflet to learn more about person-centred approaches.

Choose one of the situations and describe how best to manage the risks involved, explaining the reasons why this would be best practice.

In the example above, where an individual is refusing to take their medication, it would be best practice to try to encourage the individual to take it because this would be in their best interests. Everyone is different and by knowing the individual or referring to their care plan and risk assessments, we can establish the best techniques to help them to agree to take their medication.

For some individuals, this may mean simply leaving them for a while and then coming back later to offer them their medication again. Or even waiting for the individual to come to you to request it. For others, it may be necessary to explain the reasons why they should take their medication and the potential ramifications of them not taking it. You could even remind them of the negative consequences that occurred last time that they refused their medication.

Asking the individual why they are refusing their medication may shed some light on the reason for their refusal. It could be that they think the medication is causing them harm and in this case I would be able to reassure that it will help them, rather than harm them.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to ask for assistance from another member of staff as some individuals may be more willing to comply with a different person’s request.

If medication is still refused then I would contact a senior member of staff for advice. I may also obtain advice from the individual’s GP or NHS Direct (out of hours).

Recording the refusal of medication is imperative. I would note on the MAR sheet that medication had been refused and write up a statement about what had happened. It may be necessary for me to write up a risk assessment for the individual refusing their medication with collaboration from the individual, their family, other staff and other professionals, which can be used in the future.