Write a reflective account that evaluates your own contribution to the health and safety needs of individuals whom you have worked with in your placements over the last 9 months.
Reflections – Domiciliary Care Work.
The purpose of reflection stated by (John, 1995) “ is to promote desirable practice through the practitioner’s understanding and learning about his/her lived experiences”. The key laws and policies that have an impact on my work as a social care worker are The Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (NI) 1992, Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2002 and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (NI) COSHH 2003. The organisation that I am employed with provides a domillicillary care service to vulnerable adults within the community in their own homes.
Before any work can commence with a service user, “a skilled assessment of clients needs and strengths is essential to effective planning” as stated by (Taylor & Devine, 1993). A risk assessment is then carried out by the occupational therapist. The law states “you are required to protect people as far as is reasonably practicable”, (Hse, 2014). The findings of the risk assessment are recorded and included in the care plan. At the service user’s home I would familiarise myself with their care plan. I need to ensure that as a social care worker I contribute to the welfare, health, safety and security of that individual as outlined in my employers code of practice and other relevant recommendations of safe moving and handling that is listed for my attention and other care workers. I used “PPE in accordance with training and instructions”, (Rsi, 2014) supplied by my employer to ensure I protect the service user and myself from infection.
On one occasion, I found that a service user was afraid of the hoist because of a fear of falling, feeling vulnerable and embarrassed. I felt empathy for the service user but stated that all moving to and from the bed or chair had to be carried out using the hoist which is stated on the risk assessment for her safety and it is against the moving and handling policy not adhering to the care plan. The service user was further advised that since she had refused to allow the hoist to be used, unfortunately she had to stay in bed or be lifted by a member of the family. It was my responsibility to have adhered to the moving and handling policy for my own safety and that of the service user whose mobility is impaired. As an employee within the health sector it is my responsibility to conform to the health and safety policy. By adhering to this, I feel that it has enabled me to observe all the safety rules and regulations that are required by law for me to follow. Wearing of gloves, aprons and footwear at all times are standard precaution to take for infection control. Infection control practices are adopted to minimise the spread of infection from one person to another.
I feel that it is also my responsibility to report all potential hazards, accidents or incidents to my line manager. Yesterday when I arrived at the home of a service user who has mental impairment, I was confronted by newspapers strewn all over the room, split urine bottles and bags of soiled pads that was taken from the rubbish bin outside. The service user was hoarding these in his room. I felt uncomfortable and immediately, I called my line manager where arrangements were made through his social worker to get his room cleaned to avoid any potential infection from the soiled pads and spilt urine. By attending all mandatory training on moving and handling, food hygiene, administering of medication and first aid. I feel I am kept up to date through training and have improved my own awareness and skills whilst working with service users in a health and safety environment. Recently a service user was walking in the kitchen with her walking stick when she fell and sustained multiple bruises.
On my visit I was informed of the incident, which I immediately recorded and reported to my line manager. Since the service user mobility was impaired I encouraged her to use the zimmer emphasising that by using the zimmer it would reduce the risks of her falling and causing potential injury which could be serious. Another issue I had recently was with a co-worker who had decided that in order to save time, we would drag lift a double amputee service user instead of using the glide sheet to glide him up the bed. I was uncomfortable with that suggestion and I refused to partake in that method of moving and handling which was against company policy and I feel I could have potentially caused serious damage to the service user and ourselves. I now think that by insisting that we were to follow the correct moving and handling procedures this prevented any incident from happening and did not leave us open to disciplinary action.
Health and safety is an important part of my work out in the community and I need to continuously reflect on this in my every day practice. I feel more secure I the knowledge that it is acceptable to use reflection as a tool in order to turn any unpleasant experience into a positive one