Privacy is a basic right of all people. Wherever possible, clients should experience a level of personal privacy typical of people their age. Compromises must be directly related to essential care and approved by a supervisor.
In practice, privacy means that:
- Clients are supported in ways that encourage independence, respect and dignity
- Support staff should seek permission when privacy has to be breached. An example would be telling clients what they are intending to do as they carry out personal care tasks. Another example would be opening a client’s mail in their presence and telling them what they are doing if assistance at this level is needed
- Knocking and announcing entry is required before entering any private bedrooms or private areas like toilets and bathrooms
- Clients must be free to choose whether they wish to be on their own or with others
- Clients do not have to reveal personal details, thoughts and feelings
- Clients can receive and make telephone calls in private and have their mail delivered promptly and unopened
Privacy can be over-ridden to prevent risk of harm but such compromises will be sanctioned by supervisors at support team meetings. An example would be someone requiring constant supervision when bathing because of epilepsy.
All employees are expected to respect all boundaries of confidentiality as a condition of continuing employment. Whilst employees have access to client information, it is given in trust, and client confidentiality is never to be breached.
Employees must not:
- Discuss client information in a trivial manner
- Discuss information about clients with their families or circle of friends
- Pass on information, or discuss information, with another affiliated service provider that is not factual, relevant and carries the permission of the supervisor
- Give out a client’s telephone number or address or that of their relatives
- Leave any client or service information in their car, or around their family home where this information could be freely accessed by unauthorised people
- Take client information away from its usual storage place without permission from a supervisor
The obligation of confidentiality does not cease at the end of employment.
Proven breaches of confidentiality will result in disciplinary action and can result in termination of employment.
The details of client’s private lives should not be spread between workplaces. Staff should only be discussing confidential and private details with their supervisor in the confines of the support team.
When these rules are broken we slide into a “gossip and snigger” culture that damages the identity and reputation of the person being supported, and the service.
If there are employees who don’t understand this, they should give some thought to how they would feel if their doctor decided to tell all of his/her friends in town everything he knew about them. Or, to give another example; the manager of the service they work for decided to tell all of his/her friends what they knew about them from their worker’s compensation medical reports, or police check.
There are serious responsibilities at every level of the service on this matter. Disciplinary action will be taken against those who break these rules.
This responsibility also extends to fellow workers. You must not give out personal details, particularly phone numbers and addresses without the express permission of the person involved.
NWRSS’ home based office system for the manager and supervisors negate the need for a shop-front with a centralised filing system.
Residential support is centred at each client’s home. All of their personal information, including files, are kept in their private bedroom.
There is no central base for lifestyle support. The client’s home is the base where their personal information, including files, are kept in their private bedroom.
These files are worked on, in-home, by supervisors and their assistants ensuring that they have constant and regular contact with the clients and that files are accessed and worked on in the client’s presence.
Supervisors hold only working notes which are either transferred to the person’s files in their bedroom, or destroyed. If a supervisor needs to take a client’s personal file to a support team meeting or service coordination meeting they do so and then return the file to the person’s bedroom.
The client’s personal files can only be removed from their possession and archived if they die.