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Describe ways in which discrimination may deliberately or inadvertently occur in the work setting

Discrimination is often considered to be a deliberate unkind act carried out by racists and misogynists, however it can also occur unintentionally.

Deliberate Discrimination

Harassment, bullying, verbal and physical abuse and even jokes aimed at an individual’s differences should not be tolerated.

There is no place for this type of discrimination in society, let alone the workplace – it is morally and ethically wrong and it is illegal.

If it does occur, your employer should take immediate disciplinary action.

Inadvertent Discrimination

Inadvertent or unintentional discrimination can occur if a rule, policy or action prevents an individual or group of individuals from participating.

For example, if an individual that uses a wheelchair cannot access a restaurant because the doorways aren’t wide enough.

Businesses and care workers must do everything they reasonably can to ensure discrimination does not occur.

 

Equality Word Cloud

Explain what is meant by diversity, equality, inclusion and discrimination

Diversity, equality, inclusion and discrimination are important terms to understand for the Level 2 Diploma Unit ‘Equality and Diversity in Care Settings’.

Diversity

Diversity describes the different traits and characteristics of individuals that make them unique. This can include (but is not limited to) things like age, appearance, ability, role, values, beliefs, sexual orientation and gender.

We are all diverse individuals and our differences to one another should be celebrated.

Equality

Equality is ensuring that everybody gets the same opportunities, which may mean adjusting things to accommodate individual needs.

For example, a visually impaired individual may need a document in audio or braille format or somebody to read a printed format for them so that they have the same opportunity (to get information) as other individuals that are able to read the text.

Inclusion

Inclusion is ensuring that all individuals are included in a group or activity and are given the opportunity to participate if that is their wish.

Like equality, it is about treating individuals fairly.

Discrimination

Discrimination is excluding individuals, or not treating them equally, because of their differences.

This may be done unintentionally, which is why it is important to have an awareness of these terms. Extreme cases of deliberate discrimination include harassment and hate crimes.

The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination illegal.

The word 'wellbeing' using brightly-coloured letters

Analyse Factors that Contribute to the Well Being of Individuals

Well-being can be thought of as the state of being happy, comfortable and content.

Here are some of the factors that can contribute to an individual’s well-being.

Physical Health

Having a healthy body can make an individual feel good about themselves. This includes getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep. This also reduces the risk of many illnesses. Exercise, in particular, can release endorphins which are chemicals that give the body a natural high.

Financial Resources

Although money is not everything, having enough money to live comfortably and be able to afford to buy personal items and partake in activities is a real factor to well-being. Without financial security, individuals can feel trapped and stressed.

Emotional Support

We all need emotional support from others at certain times in our lives, whether this be from friends, family or other support networks. Having other people to talk to about feelings and emotions is a great reliever of stress.

Social Networks

Similar to emotional support, we also need other people to talk to and share experiences with. Social networks are groups of people that come together to do something such as football teams, church groups or simply a group of friends that get together regularly for a cup of tea. By being part of a group with similar ideals, individuals can obtain affirmation of their self-worth, which contributes towards their self-esteem.

Work & Education

Another factor that can make an individual feel valued is work and education. By striving towards a learning goal or doing worthwhile vocational work, an individual can feel as though they are able to contribute to society and feel fulfilled.

Choice & Control

All individuals have the right to make their own life choices, even if others disagree with their decisions. Having as much control as possible over our own lives can positively affect our well-being.

Respect & Dignity

Similarly, all individuals should be treated with respect and dignity. This is particularly true for vulnerable individuals who are at increased risk of being taken advantage of and abused. If a person is respected and treated in a dignified, they will feel more self-worth.

Example Question & Answer (Well-being Poster)

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:

A iii) 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.)

Collection of healthy foods, vitamins and bathroom scales

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

Group of silhouettes of 5 stick figures above the word 'Social'

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

Wads of banknotes and stacks of coins

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

Side profile of a man's head filled with psychological words such as risk, fear, flashbacks, trauma etc.

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

A handprint containing several national flags

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

Religious symbols; star of david (Jewish), yin/yang (Taoism), cross (Christianity), star and crescent (Islam)

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

Post-it note with a happy stick figure, heart and the words 'I love myself!'

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

Politician standing at a podium with 'Vote' banners in the background

A file with 'informed consent' written on it and a stethoscope resting on top

1.5 Describe the actions to take if an individual cannot give informed consent to the treatment

If an individual is unable to give their consent to treatment, tests or examination (perhaps due to not having the capacity to understand the implications) then the healthcare professional should investigate if the individual has a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Legally Appointed Deputy (LPD) for their health and welfare. These individuals are able to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the individual and consent can be obtained from them.

Nobody else, including family members and carers, can legally consent for another individual and should never be asked to.

If an individual does not have an LPA or LPD, a best interests meeting must be arranged by the healthcare professional to discuss the best interests of the individual. This meeting must invite everybody that has a stake in the individual’s health so as well as healthcare professionals, the individual’s family/friends should also be consulted.

If, at the conclusion of the meeting, it is decided that it is in the best interest of the individual to commence with the treatment, then the healthcare professional is permitted to go ahead with it.

A file with 'informed consent' written on it and a stethoscope resting on top

1.4 Explain why it is important to ensure an individual is able to give informed consent to their treatment in line with legislation, policies or guidance

It is essential that an individual is able to give their informed consent to treatment, test or examination prior to it commencing.

This is an important part of medical ethics and human rights legislation (see the Human Rights Act 1998).

For individuals with learning disabilities, there may not be immediate certainty that they are able to give consent as they may not have the capacity to make such a decision. Having capacity means that an individual is able to understand the information given to them and then use this information to make an informed decision.

The other two pillars of consent are being informed (the individual is given all the information they need to make the decision) and the choice being voluntary (the individual makes the choice of their own free will and without pressure from others).

Having said that, individuals with learning disabilities should always be considered as having capacity unless there is reason think otherwise. It should not be presumed that just because someone has a learning disability, they lack capacity.

A boy in a wheelchair with a nurse

1.3 Describe ways that healthcare services should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that they provide equal access to individuals with a learning disability

There are many ways that healthcare services can make reasonable adjustments to make equal accessibility available to individuals with learning disabilities.

For example, organisations can ensure that their signposts are clear and easy to follow. Similarly, handouts such as leaflets and information sheets may need to be adjusted so that people with learning disabilities are able to understand them. This could be by using visual aids, using ‘plain english’/’easy read’ or providing alternative media formats such as CDs and DVDs.

Sites of healthcare services should ensure that they are accessible for people with physical disabilities. Simple changes like widening doorways so that a wheelchair can fit through or using automatic doors so that people do not need strength and stability to push/pull a door open can make a real difference.

Some individuals may need extra time to have information explained to them or may require home visits.

Carers of people with learning disabilities should be embraced as they will know how best to communicate with the individual, however conversation and questions should be directed at the individual themselves as they are the ones receiving the healthcare.

Medical records should keep a log of the individuals preferences so that the healthcare professional has the information they require to meet the individual’s personal needs during appointments.

Legislation for rights based healthcare word cloud

1.2 Identify legislation which supports a rights-based approach to accessing healthcare

The most obvious piece of legislation that supports a rights-based approach to accessing healthcare is the Human Rights Act 1998.

This defines the fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals are entitled to, whether they have a disability or not. Each right is an article and they are collectively known as the Convention Rights.

  • Article 2: Right to life
  • Article 3: Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Article 4: Freedom from slavery and forced labour
  • Article 5: Right to liberty and security
  • Article 6: Right to fair trial
  • Article 7: No punishment without law
  • Article 8: Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence
  • Article 9: Freedom of thought, belief and religion
  • Article 10: Freedom of expression
  • Article 11: Freedom of assembly and association
  • Article 12: Right to marry and start a family
  • Article 14: Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms
  • Protocol 1, Article 1: Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
  • Protocol 1, Article 2: Right to education
  • Protocol 1, Article 3: Right to participate in free elections
  • Protocol 13, Article 1: Abolition of the death penalty

NOTE: Articles 1 and 13 are excluded as they are fulfilled with the creation of the Human Rights Act.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for individuals to be discriminated based on certain ‘protected’ characteristics of which one is disability. This means that healthcare providers must reasonably make healthcare accessible to people with learning disabilities.

 

Human Rights-Based Approach

1.1 Outline what is meant by a rights-based approach to accessing healthcare

A rights-based approach to accessing healthcare in relation to individuals with learning disabilities brings that person’s basic human rights to the forefront of the healthcare they receive.

Individuals with learning disabilities are first and foremost individuals and have the same needs and rights regarding healthcare as those without learning disabilities.

Therefore they should be implicit in their own healthcare and empowered to make their own decisions whilst being provided with information through media that they can digest and fully understand.

Healthcare providers should have well-trained staff that involve individuals with learning disabilities. When talking about an individual’s health they should speak to the individual rather than their family or support worker. They should presume that the individual has the capacity to make their own choices and discussions of sexual health should not be stigmatized.

In addition, individuals with learning disabilities should not be discriminated against and should be offered equal opportunities to access healthcare.

An brightly coloured individual on a pedestal surrounded by a ring of other individuals representing a definition of person centred values

1.1 Define Person Centred Values

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) defines person-centred values as:

Promoting person-centred values means carrying out your role in a way that respects the people you work with so that they can live the life that they choose to.

Essentially, person-centred values are values that have the individual at the core. In an adult health and social care setting, the individual would be the adult that is being supported.

The individual should be considered an expert adviser in the management of their support plan – no-one knows or understands their particular needs, desires, likes, preferences, wishes etc. more than they do themselves!

Sometimes, particularly in the past, care packages have been put together out of convenience by the provider and without the collaboration of the individuals who receive the support. However, this can lead to care packages that are not suitable for the individual – even the most well-meaning care worker can get it wrong if they do not consult with individual.

Old-fashioned views and opinions consider that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, dementia and other illnesses that affect cognition are unable to make sound choices for themselves and that others are needed to make decisions on their behalf be it family, social workers, care workers etc. Whilst there are still cases where others must act in the best interest of individuals (for example, if an individual is detained under the mental health act), on the whole most individuals are fully capable of making their own choices. And it is against the law for care workers to take away this right (see the Human Rights Act for further information).

Person-centred values are also about treating individuals with dignity and respect. Part of this, as stated above, is not restricting individuals from making their own choices (even if you do not agree with them yourself) but also encompasses communication, seeking consent, privacy and independence.

By working with person-centred values at the forefront of your practice, you can give the individuals you work with a better quality of life and help them to establish their own identity and raise their self-esteem.

Jackie Chan with hands on head and a confused look on face representing the importance of observing responses when communicating

1.3 Explain Why It Is Important To Observe An Individual’s Reactions When Communicating With Them

It is important to observe an individual’s reactions when communicating with them as there may be visual cues about their understanding and feelings that they are unable or unwilling to verbalise. Being mindful of these reactions can help you to communicate effectively, demonstrate that you are are listening, keep the conversation flowing and prevent misunderstandings.

For example, if the individual is nodding whilst you are speaking, and clarifying what you say, it probably means that they are listening and attentive and you should continue. If the individual looks confused, it may indicate that they do not understand and you may need to rephrase what you are saying in different words. If they are avoiding eye contact and looking in the opposite direction it may mean that they don’t like what you are saying or aren’t interested, so you may need to try a different approach or try again later.

Some reactions may be related to the environment or the situation and have no bearing on what you are communicating at all. Therefore, it is important to do your best to make an individual as comfortable as possible before the conversation starts to ensure they are receptive as possible to what you are saying.

Environmental factors can include:

  • Temperature
  • Lighting
  • Seating

And situational factors can include:

  • Unexpected meeting
  • Conversing immediately after a behaviour
  • Tiredness

You may be able to identify the reasons for an individual’s discomfort by observing them during conversation. For example if they are shivering it could indicate that they are cold and you can offer them a blanket or turn the heating up. Or if they seem tired and unresponsive it may tell you that they should get some rest and the conversation should be rescheduled.

In summary, without observing the person you are communicating with, it will be very difficult to identify and remove barriers to the communication and tell whether they have understood you correctly.

The words 'effective communication' between two silhouettes communicating via a tin can and string

1.2 Explain How Effective Communication Affects All Aspects of Own Work

Communication is very important in a health and social care setting and effective communication can have a positive affect on all aspects of your own work.

By communicating effectively with colleagues, managers and other professionals, you will be ensuring that the messages, instructions, questions and ideas that you are sending are received and understood correctly by the other party. Similarly, you will also ensure that you correctly understand what is being communicated to you by others.

Perhaps more than in any other industry, health and social care requires teams and professional partners to work as a single cohesive unit to provide the clients with a uniform care structure. Effective communication assures that everyone is on the same page and minimises mistakes.

In addition, health and social care requires a lot of record-keeping which must be accurate and legible (by law) so good reading and writing skills are a must. If things go wrong, sometimes the only way to back up your actions is by the documentation that you have written.

Effective communication is also critical the clients that you support.

If you are unable to understand one another then you will not be able to provide them with adequate support as you will be unable to understand their needs, preferences or wishes. There may also be other reasons why someone needs to communicate with you.

Some clients may not be verbal and so you will need to learn to communicate them using other means such as facial expressions, makaton or gestures. You may even need to become familiar with their language if they do not speak english.

One of the great things about being a care worker is that it opens up opportunities to improve all aspects of your communication and become a better speaker, listener, reader and writer. And these skills can be transferred to your personal life as well.

Two individuals forming an idea by communicating - an example of why people communicate

1.1 Identify Different Reasons People Communicate

The Short Answer

There are many different reasons why people communicate. These include:

  • Pleasure
  • To socialise
  • To make and maintain relationships
  • To ask questions
  • To request information
  • To offer choices
  • To advise/guide
  • To give support/reassurance
  • To express a need, desire or preference
  • To express a feeling
  • To share ideas
  • To share experiences
  • To discuss and debate
  • To show compassion/empathy
  • To give instructions
  • To encourage/motivate/persuade

The Long Answer

Communication is everyone’s panacea for everything ~ Tom Peters

Whether you agree with the quote above or not, it is undeniable that communication has a wide variety of functions and as part of your Level 2 Diploma, your tutor will expect you to be able to list and explain at least a handful of them. Most courses will ask you to write down just three or four reasons that individuals communicate, but do bear in mind that sometimes you may be asked for more.

The good news is I’ve compiled a handy list for you 🙂

Social

Social interaction very much depends upon communication. Without it, it is very difficult to make and maintain relationships with partners, friends, family and even colleagues.

It is useful to remember that social communication is not just chatting to people that you know. Hugs, pats on the back and kissing (if appropriate) are all forms of communication. As are writing letters, emails etc.

And on top of this, for many people communicating socially is generally a very pleasurable experience, which helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Expression

Communication can be used to express or vocalise things such as feelings, needs, desires, preferences or wishes.

Again, this does not have to verbal. For example, a piece of music can communicate the writer’s (or player’s) sadness or happiness. Or the makaton sign for ‘tea; can express the signer’s desire for a cuppa!

Information sharing

Information is shared between people using communication. This may be sharing ideas, advice or experiences or to ask questions or request specific information. Or giving someone instructions for performing a task.

If I were to ask you the time and you were to tell me it is midnight, that is an example of using communication to share information. Another example would be a team meeting where you brainstorm ideas to come up with a solution to a problem.

Support

Reassuring and supporting others is another way to utilise communication. As well as offering understanding and an arm around the shoulder, you can also demonstrate compassion and empathy.

You should now be able to identify different reasons people communicate for your level 2 diploma.

Example Answer: Identify Four Different Reasons Why People Communicate

People communicate for many different reasons. Socially, people communicate for pleasure, to ask questions or to offer choices. Communication can also be used to express a need or a feeling to others as well as share ideas and debate issues. In addition, communication can be used to show compassion and empathy towards others.

 

An individual helping with conflict resolution by standing between two angry individuals

Demonstrate How and When to Access Support About Resolving Conflicts

As a health and care worker, you may often be required to help with conflict resolution, so it is important that you are able to identify skills and approaches need for resolving conflicts and be able to find and utilise additional help and support if required.

When getting involved in a conflict, it is important to understand that all parties may initially be in a high emotional state, which makes them less likely to approach the issues in a logical fashion. You should give everyone a chance to explain how they are feeling from their perspective. This means listening intently to what they have to say, giving them respect and showing empathy and understanding. Everyone should be treated fairly and equitably as if an individual feels as though they are being ‘ganged up on’ they will be far less open to compromise later.

When everybody has had the opportunity to say their piece (and hopefully cooled down a little) it is time to negotiate and find out what (if any) compromises people are willing to make. It may be necessary to make it clear to all that there may be no hope of resolution if everybody is not willing to compromise a little and then nobody will get what they want.

Having drafted a potential resolution, it is essential to ensure that there is clarity and transparency and that everybody is happy. Active listening is important to make sure that everybody understands what will happen moving forward so that there are no misunderstandings that could lead to more issues in the future. Documenting the resolution and getting each party to sign it is recommended.

If nobody is willing to compromise or no resolution can be found, then you may need to obtain additional support.

Contacting a senior member of staff or your line manager for guidance will probably be your first port of call. Third-party professionals can also be useful, such as trained mediators. If all or some of the facts about the issue are unknown, it may be necessary to contact other professionals for advice. This could be a social worker or community nurse, for example.

If there is a degree of aggression in the conflict, it may be necessary to contact the police for assistance.

Demonstrate How and When to Access Support About Partnership Working

If you feel that your knowledge is limited with regards partnership working or you are finding working with a particular partner difficult, you should seek advice from your manager or a senior member of staff. Colleagues with relevant experience can also be an invaluable source of information. You can also seek advice from other individuals and agencies.

Identify Skills and Approaches Needed for Resolving Conflicts

It is extremely important to remain calm during conflict resolution and listen intently to the feelings and views of everyone involved so that you can empathise with them and work towards a compromise that suits everybody.

Demonstrate Ways of Working That Can Help Improve Partnership Working

Having good communication skills is essential for improving partnership working. Also, building strong relationships with others and giving accurate and timely information can help to build trust, which is also important to working effectively with partners. Knowing you own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others and seeking training where needed can also be useful.

Explain Why it is Important to Work in Partnership with Others

Working in partnership with others is essential to provide the best possible care to an individual. Some tasks may require more than one person to execute safely and other tasks may require specialist training, qualifications or experience. Both would be impossible to complete alone. Seeking guidance from colleagues, managers and other professionals can improve the way you work as can speaking to others that know a service user well, such as their friends and family.

Implement Agreed Ways of Working

I implement agreed ways of working by ensuring that I read and keep up-to-date with all current policies and procedures as well as my client’s care plans and nationwide legislation and codes of practice. As this is a lot to remember, I sometimes have to refer back to the documentation in response to a particular situation. I always work with person-centred values and empower my clients to make their own decisions and live as independently as possible.

Acces Full and Up-To-Date Details of Agreed Ways of Working

Full and up-to-date details of my agreed ways of working can be accessed via my current job description and my employer’s policies, procedures and other documentation. I can also get more detailed information about how to work with a particular individual from their care plan. More generalised information can be found in legislation and codes of best practice. If I am unsure of anything, I can contact my manager for guidance

Describe Why it is Important to Adhere to the Agreed Scope of the Job Role

It is important to adhere to the agreed scope of the job role because it prevents employees from partaking in tasks that may require specialist training or experience to perform properly. This could result in an accident, litigation or monetary damages. By working within the scope of the job role, an employee knows exactly what their responsibilities and accountabilities are.

3 individuals working together to hold gears in place

Describe Different Working Relationships in a Health & Social Care Setting

There are many different working relationships in a health & social care setting. these can include:

  • The relationship between support workers (co-workers)
  • The relationship between managers and subordinates
  • The relationships between employees and service users
  • The relationships between employees and the family and friends of a service user
  • The relationships between employees and other health & social care professionals

Co-workers

Support workers and carers can be friends outside work but when at work their relationship must remain professional. Having a personal and professional relationship has the potential to cause a conflict of interest, which is why many organisations have a policy that restricts employees that are closely related (e.g. family or spouses) from working together.

Manager and subordinates

Managers are required to be leaders, which involves getting the most out of their subordinates, solving problems and going through disciplinary procedures.

Care workers and clients

The relationship between care workers and the individuals that they support should be purely professional. They must work together and collaborate on their personalised care plan and the care worker should always treat the individual with dignity and respect.

Care workers and family/friends of clients

Care workers may also have a working relationship with the friends and relations of the individuals they support.

Care workers and other professionals

There will be occasions when care workers will also have a close relationship with workers from outside agencies. This could include doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, advocates and appointees.

Explain How a Working Relationship is Different From a Personal Relationship

The relationships a health & social care employee have at work differ greatly from the personal relationships they may have outside of work. Working relationships are governed by professional boundaries including:

 

  • Legislation (e.g. the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibits the sharing of personal information that an employee may be privy to as part of their job)
  • Employer’s policies and procedures
  • Professional codes of conduct (e.g. the GSCC Codes of Practice for Social Workers)

 

I have provided a copy of my company’s Professional Relationships Policy & Procedure as evidence.

 

Personal relationships are much less formal and more emotive and can involve intimate touching and expression that would be illegal in a health & social care setting. In addition, a person can choose who they associate with outside work, whereas they have much less choice whilst at work and may have to work with people they do not particularly like.

 

It is important not to confuse working relationships with personal relationships as this could lead to an employee being biased, either positively or negatively, whilst making work-related decisions or carrying out their job responsibilities. It could also result in breaking the law or disciplinary action.

Safeguarding Adults: Everyone's Responsibility

Safeguarding: How to Recognise and Report Unsafe Practices

There are several unsafe practices that may affect the well-being of an individual. Examples include not documenting incidents or medical concerns, lack of good hand washing technique, not following health & safety guidelines, living in unsanitary conditions, poor diet and not having risk assessments in place but their are many, many more.

 

I ensure that all policies, procedures and good practices are followed to ensure the well-being of my clients. If I identify an unsafe practice, the first thing I do is make sure that my clients are safe from harm. I would then speak to my manager and offer suggestions about how the practice could be changed to make it safe. If I don’t feel comfortable approaching my manager (for example, if my manager is involved in the unsafe practice) or I do not feel that it has been dealt with correctly, I would address senior management with my concerns. If it is more serious, or still not dealt with to my satisfaction, I would whistle-blow and go straight to the local authority, CQC or the Police.

 

A good example is when I witnessed a member of staff encouraging a client to hug her on multiple occasions. Although I was fairly certain there was nothing sinister in her motives and there was no abuse, I felt it was unprofessional and crossed the staff-client boundary. I spoke about my concerns to my manager (with another manager present to act as witness) and was thanked for bringing it to their attention and assured they would speak with the member of staff concerned to stop it happening again. Had this not been dealt with properly by management, I would have been forced to report my concerns to CQC or local social services.

Reduce Abuse

How to Reduce the Likelihood of Abuse

There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of abuse within an organisation.

 

Person-centred values is an approach to care work that all care staff should be encouraged to follow. It involves treating a client as an individual and including them in any decisions that need to be made regarding their care and support. A client’s person-centred values can be described as individuality, independence, privacy, partnership, choice, dignity, rights and respect. Not only do these values teach staff best working practices but also helps vulnerable people have a say in the support they receive and help them to feel empowered. This results in a staff team that has the mindset to support client’s best interests, reducing the likelihood of abuse. In addition, risk of a abuse is lowered when individual’s have active participation in their care provision because they are more likely to understand their rights and know when something might not be quite right. They will also be more likely to speak up if they have concerns. This goes hand-in-hand with promoting an individual’s rights and choices. Client’s should be free to make their own life choices and take calculated risks as long as it is unlikely to harm themselves or others or is illegal.

 

Personally, I treat everyone with the same level of respect that I would expect to receive myself, so person-centred values come naturally to me. I encourage all clients to take an active role in planning their activities and inform them of their rights in a manner that they understand when applicable. I also try to allow them the freedom and independence to be in control of their own lives, only stepping in to provide guidance if I feel that their actions may be detrimental to themselves or others.

 

Another way to reduce the likelihood of abuse is to have an accessible complaints procedure in place. This gives an individual a voice and a course of action should they feel they are being treated inappropriately.

All my clients are aware of the complaints procedure we have in place and know that they can have assistance in filling it out if they need to. Sometimes this results in false complaints such as when a client put in a complaint about a member of staff because he didn’t have enough money to buy a phone charger and failed to understand that it was not the member of staff’s fault but the fact that he had already spent all his money on something else but it is important that the system remains in place to catch any legitimate complaints. Our complaints procedure was used to great effect when a member of staff was permanently moved without warning to another service, resulting in the clients becoming upset because they had a great working relationship with said member of staff. The clients asked me what they could do about it and I informed them that although head office could put staff in whichever service they deemed fit, the client’s opinions could be passed on via a complaints form. I helped the clients to fill in their complaints (ensuring only what they said was documented and with another member of staff present to act as witness) and passed them on to head office. The client’s views were read by senior management and they made a u-turn on their decision.

Sign saying 'Report Abuse'

National and Local Contexts of Safeguarding and Protection from Abuse

There are a number of different agencies, policies and systems that have important roles to play in safeguarding vulnerable people.

On a national level, legislation acts as the framework within which all other groups can operate lawfully. This includes:

  • The Care Act 2014 – makes safeguarding a corporate duty for local councils (supersedes No Secrets Policy Document 2000.
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 – helps prevent unsuitable persons from gaining access to vulnerable people through their work.

 

  • Health & Social Care Act 2008 – regulations for the health and social care industry

 

  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 – protects whistle-blowers from victimisation

 

 

 

Several national agencies have sprung up as a result of the above legislation being passed. For example, the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) was formed after the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act came into force and it is their responsibility to keep a database of people that are deemed unsafe to work with vulnerable adults and children so that employers can make informed recruitment decisions. Also, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) came about following the passing of the Health & Social Care Act 2008. It is CQC’s responsibility to ensure organisations that provide care services are meeting national standards.

The Metropolitan Police are another national organisation that have a role to play in safeguarding vulnerable adults. It is their responsibility to investigate claims of abuse.

There are also agencies that operate on a local level to help safeguard vulnerable adults, including:

  • In Warwickshire, the Adult Social Care Team can be contacted on 01926 410 410 during office hours.
  • At other times, the Social Care Emergency Duty Service can be contacted on 01926 886 922.
  • In more serious incidents, Nuneaton Police can be contacted on 02476 641 111

Despite the many policies and agencies involved in the protection of vulnerable adults, there have still been many cases of abuse occurring within a care setting. One example that was heavily reported in the news was the abuse that occurred at Winterbourne View Private Hospital. In 2011, a BBC Panorama investigation revealed that patients were routinely neglected, assaulted and restrained by care staff. Although various organisations were alerted to the malpractices, they were not followed through, resulting in local social services, police, the NHS and CQC being implicated for failing to do their duty. As a result of the investigation, several care staff at Winterbourne View were prosecuted and the hospital was closed down.

If I required further information or advice about safeguarding, I would probably go to my manager or consult with other members of my team in the first instance. I could also speak to other employees and look at the company’s vast library of policies and procedures, particularly the Safeguarding Policy, which is attached to this document. Other sources of information would include the local authority, CQC and my own independent research using books and the Internet.

Two hands with the words 'Speak Out' written on the palms

Responding to Suspected or Alleged Abuse

If you suspect that an individual is being abused, it is imperative that you tell them of the reasons for your concerns and attempt to build a dialogue with them to try and establish what has happened. You should remain calm and listen intently to anything they may tell you without ‘putting words into their mouth’ and without pressing for information that they unwilling to give. If they ask you not to tell anyone, explain that you have a duty of care to report anything that is illegal or affects their well-being. Also explain that they have done the right thing by telling you and that you will take appropriate steps to resolve the problem and protect them from further abuse.

After speaking with the individual, you should preserve any evidence of abuse that is available and, at the earliest opportunity, make a written record of the conversation keeping only to the facts and the words that the individual used. It should then be reported to your manager, or, if your manager is implicated in the abuse, to the next manager up in the organisations hierarchy.

Depending on the circumstances, you may also need to report suspected abuse to the police, local social services and/or CQC (if your organisation does not respond appropriately), however confidentiality is paramount and you should work on a ‘need to know’ basis.

The same process should be used if an individual alleges to you that abuse has taken place. All allegations should be taken seriously.

As mentioned above, in some cases there will be physical evidence of abuse having taken place. It is very important to preserve this evidence. You can do this by sealing off the area where the abuse has taken place and leaving everything untouched, not washing soiled or bloodied clothing and discouraging the individual from washing (particularly if it is a case of sexual abuse). As well as recording the victim’s account of the abuse, you should also record any injuries they may have sustained.

Close up dictionary definition of 'abuse'

Types, Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

It is important to understand the different types of abuse so that you can spot the signs that it may be taking place and protect an individual from further abuse. The table below explains types of abuse and their symptoms.

TypeDefinitionSigns/symptoms
Physical abusePhysical abuse occurs when an abuser makes physical contact with an individual with the intention of causing physical pain or injury. Bruises, burns, fractures, lacerations, sores, cowering & flinching
Sexual abuseSexual abuse is when an abuser forces or tricks an individual into a non-consensual sexual behaviour. Although this can include penetration, it doesn’t have to – touching and showing pornography material are also classed as sexual abuse.Genital & anal infections and bleeding, torn, soiled or bloodied underwear, change in character
Emotional/psychological abuseEmotional abuse is when an abuser subjects an individual to behaviours that can result in psychological trauma. Verbal aggression, bullying and domination are examples of emotional abuse.Depression, anxiety, isolation, fear, agitation, self-mutilation, low self-esteem & self-confidence.
Financial abuseFinancial abuse is when an abuser attempts to steal from or defraud an individual. This can extend to tricking an individual into giving away money or property and preventing an individual from making their own financial decisions. Missing money/property, unexplained bank withdrawals, isolation from friends/family, fear, anxiety, embarrassment.
Institutional abuseInstitutional abuse occurs when the convenience of an institution and its staff are put before the needs and lifestyles of an individual. This can include over-medication,  unreasonable restrictions of activity, lack of privacy etc.Staff entering service users rooms without knocking, lack of food, clothing & possessions, lack of flexibility with bedtimes, mealtimes etc.,  poorly trained & unsupervised staff, poorly managed setting
Self-neglectSelf-neglect is when an individual does not attend to their basic needs, such as washing, eating and clothing.Poor personal hygiene, malnutrition, inappropriate or dirty clothing, not taking medication.
Neglect by othersNeglect occurs when a carer either deliberately or unintentionally fails to provide adequate care to an individual.Bedsores, inappropriate or dirty clothing, hunger, unwashed.

 

NOTE: The signs and symptoms above are by no means exhaustive and will vary between individuals.

Some individuals are unable to protect themselves from abuse, for example someone with a mental disability may not have the capacity to understand that they are being abused, so it is vital that others, such as family or support staff are there to look out for their well-being. In addition, there are many factors that make an individual more vulnerable to abuse. Again, reduced mental capacity can lead to an individual being taken advantage of as can low self-esteem, depression and other mental illnesses such as paranoid schizophrenia. Some factors can also be directly related to the abuser, for example, if they have been abused themselves, if they are stressed out with their own personal problems or if they have a lack of training. And, of course, if an individual is isolated and has no-one to protect them, they are also much more susceptible to being abused.

Picture of a diploma with the words 'Diploma or NVQ?'

The Difference Between an NVQ and Diploma in Health & Social Care

You’ve probably seen that I use the words ‘NVQ’ and ‘Diploma’ interchangeably around this website and I’ve had a few messages from visitors asking me what the difference between the two is. So, I will try to explain…

In a nutshell

Essentially, an NVQ in health and social care is the same as a diploma in health and social care. The only difference is that a while ago the name changed. However, the levels remained the same so, for example, a Level 3 Diploma is the same as a Level 3 NVQ.

The history

For many years, National Vocational Qualifications or NVQs were the standard work-based qualification that recognised and assessed employees in a wide range of career paths. NVQ’s were available in hairdressing, plumbing, administration, horticulture and many other subjects.

In 2015, NVQs were discontinued and replaced by Diplomas under the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

And then in early 2018, the QCF Diploma was replaced by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Diploma.

Do workers need to upgrade their qualification?

Although going forward, only RQF Diplomas can be commissioned for new learners, NVQ and QCF qualifications still remain relevant and there is no need to ‘upgrade’ to the newer standard. All the standards carry the same amount of weight and are equivalent to one another.

Level 2 NVQ = Level 2 QCF Diploma = Level 2 RQF Diploma

Also, learners that have started studying under the QCF framework will be able to continue. However, employers should ensure that their employees training is kept up-to-date and refreshers provided where necessary.

Final word

So if NVQs are obsolete, you may be asking why I continue to use the word on my website.

This is simply because a great many people in the health and social care sector still refer to Diplomas as NVQs and, consequently, many visitors to this website find it my typing a phrase with the word ‘NVQ’ in it. If I didn’t use the word ‘NVQ’, less people would find and get help from me.

Over time, I expect the word to be used less and less until at some future point in time only the word ‘Diploma’ is used. And then I will be able to remove all reference of ‘NVQ’ from these webpages.

Employee Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace with an image of many fists held in the air in the background

1.2a Describe Your Employment Rights and Responsibilities

As an employee, you have certain rights in your day-to-day employment. Conversely, you also have certain responsibilities towards your employer. Rights and responsibilities will vary between roles, contacts and seniority, however many will be shared between all employees. Here is a list of some of the things that you need to be aware of in your day-to-day role.

Legislation

There are a number of key pieces of legislation that you should be aware of as an employee. Although you will not be expected to read through the entire parliamentary acts, you should have a basic understanding of the aspects that apply to you.

Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

This act makes employers responsible for the health, safety and welfare of their employees as well as others on work premises and the general public as a whole. All employees have the right to expect to work in a safe environment, as far as is practicably possible. This doesn’t mean that it will be risk-free – if that were the case, firefighters for example would not be able to perform their duty – but all potential hazards should be risk assessed and the risks minimised.

Employers must consult with staff about potential hazards and also have reporting procedures in place as well as a policy for how they are dealt with. It is the employers responsibility to provide employees with any equipment they may need for their job roles including any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and have undergone adequate training in how to use said equipment.

Employees also have responsibilities under the Health & Safety Act. They must take care of their own health and safety as well as that of others around them including colleagues, partners and the general public. Employees must co-operate with their employer to ensure risk is minimised in their work. This can include attending essential training, reporting safety concerns and even stopping work if they feel the risk is too high to continue.

Data Protection Act 2018 (includes General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR)

This act protects personal and identifiable information and restricts how it can be used, stored and shared. As an employee, you can expect your employer to protect your personal information but you also have the responsibility to keep the personal information of others secure.

Working Time Regulations 1998

The Working Time Directive means that employers cannot expect employees to work more than 48 hours per week (usually averaged out over a 17-week period). However, employees do have the option to opt out of this regulation if they want to work more hours. They can opt back in again at any time by giving their employer 7-days notice.

Contract of Employment

A contract is a document that sets out the details of the agreement between employee and employer.

It will specify things like how many hours an employee is contracted for, the salary, the number of days annual leave entitlement and other perks and benefits offered. As mentioned earlier in the Working Time Regulations , weekly hours should not be more than 48 hours per week unless the employee has opted out.

National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage

At the time of writing the minimum wage in the UK for 25s and over is £7.83, rising to £8.21 in April 2019. There is a sliding scale of rates for under 25s. It is against the law for an employer to pay less than the National Living Wage/Minimum Wage.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is the number of days paid holiday an employee can take each year. Most full-time employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave per year – this can include bank holidays at the employer’s discretion.

Agreed Ways of Working

It is an employees responsibility to work in the safe and agreed ways that the employer sets out in their policies and procedures. This ensures that employees work lawfully and provide the levels of care that the employer expects. Failure to comply could lead to harm being caused to individuals and/or disciplinary action.

As well as following company policies and procedures, agreed ways of working can also include following individual client’s care plans accurately, their rights are upheld and they are safeguarded from abuse.

In addition errors should be reported rather than covered up to reduce their impact and act as a learning opportunity to minimise the risk of it happening again. Everyone makes mistakes and employers understand this and should promote trust and transparency within their workplace culture.

Equality & Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination and ensures all employees are treated fairly. It also highlights nine protected characteristics that it is unlawful to discriminate against:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Values and Beliefs

1.1d Explain how your previous experiences, attitudes and beliefs may affect the way you work

We are all diverse individuals with different experiences, views , opinions and beliefs. We don’t all agree on everything and shouldn’t have to, however, at work we should try to remain impartial and not let our attitudes influence the way that we provide support.

Here are some examples of how the beliefs and views of a health and social care worker could influence the support they provide:

  • A vegan not wanting to support a client to provide meat-based meals.
  • Assuming an individual is suffering from physical/domestic abuse because they have bruises (although you should still inform your manager and/or the safeguarding team).
  • Assuming someone who rarely communicates cannot hear you.
  • Not supporting someone to celebrate a religious festival because you believe in a different religion.
  • Encouraging an individual to participate in a religious festival that is important to you but not them.
  • Not all individuals with a particular condition behave in the same way.

Further information and examples can be found below: