Disclosing information about an individual

Explain why it is important not to disclose anything about the individual that they may wish to be kept private, unless it is appropriate to do so

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

  • 7.2c Explain why it is important not to disclose anything about the individual that they may wish to be kept private, unless it is appropriate to do so. This could include: Health condition, Sexual orientation, Personal history, Social circumstances (Care Certificate, Standard 7: Privacy and dignity)

In general, people like to keep personal information about themselves private.

This can include information such as their health condition(s), sexual orientation, personal history and social circumstances.

If this type of information is shared with others, it could make them feel ashamed or it could make others treat them differently or open them up to discrimination.

For example:

  • An individual that has been diagnosed with terminal cancer may want to personally break the news to their family themselves or may not wanting them know at all.
  • An individual that is homosexual may have been discriminated against in the past and is scared it could happen again if others knew their sexual orientation.
  • An individual that has been detained under the Mental Health Act in the past may not want others knowing because it could lead to assumptions being made about them or prejudice directed at them.
  • An individual that has escaped from domestic abuse and are living in a shelter as they may feel scared or ashamed.

It is important that you respect the privacy of others in your role as a care worker by ensuring you adhere to privacy guidelines, such as speaking at a volume where you will not be overheard.

Of course, sometimes it is appropriate to share information. For example, you would need to pass on information about an individual’s health conditions to their GP or nurse if they were unable to do so themselves. In these cases, you should always attempt to gain consent from the individual beforehand.

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