It was great to hear that you are considering a career as a social care worker, I can honestly say you have picked a very rewarding career. You asked me to describe the term “ duty of care” ok when you start off as an HCA (Health Care Assistant) the person you are responsible for, whether they be too young, old or incapable of doing certain things their selves which could include personal hygiene, cooking a meal or making a snack, safety in or around the home or outside in the community. Transportation, medical or physical needs. You must always act in the best interest of the clients needs, beliefs which also includes religious beliefs, also as an HCA you also have a duty of care towards yourself and your colleagues as well as the client, this means keep your knowledge and skills up to date, keep records that you make as accurate as possible, to also know what is to be done to make any job or situation as safe as possible for all that is concerned. If you had any concerns about your clients needs or your colleagues you must make the concerns known.
You may come across dilemmas that may come between the duty of care and a persons individual rights, for example lets say you are looking after a male client who is bed bound and has soiled himself, your duty of care would be to clean the gentleman and make him comfortable yes! But what if the gentleman refuses your help, you need to make the decision which is the best way to proceed, do you leave him soiled or do you go against his wishes and clean him up possibly leaving him upset and stressed? Don’t panic Brian if this type of situation does arise you can get help and advice from colleagues, seniors, Matron, managers or even social workers so there are plenty of people to turn to. This all might sound a bit daunting but I have given you an example so you can try and understand how much is involved in being an HCA, its not just sitting down and having a cup of tea and a chat with a client, although some clients need exactly that as they might not get a lot of company. So Brian I hope my letter has given you a brief understanding of the term Duty of care and hope to see you working as an HCA very soon. Take care and bye for now.