Assessment activity 1
1. Why is it necessary for employees to demonstrate, in all the work they undertake, an understanding of the legal responsibilities and obligations of the work role? It is necessary for employees to demonstrate; in all work they undertake an understanding of the legal responsibilities and obligations of the work role to support quality care. By ensuring that employees understand the legal responsibilities and obligations applicable to the workplace it becomes possible to set standards to which employees must adhere to. Key Performance Indicators should be set and agreed upon with employees so that all workers are aware of the standards expected to be performed.
As a result, employees should be able to demonstrate in all work they undertake, an understanding of the legal responsibilities and obligations relevant to the organisation and to their individual work roles. 2. What are some of the areas, in community service organisations, on which legislation, regulations and statutes might impact? Community service organisations and their employees will need to comply with legislation, regulations and statutory requirements relevant to The prevention of discrimination
Privacy (national privacy legislation and principles)
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
Freedom of information
Access and equality
Work health and safety
Early childhood education and care
3. For what reasons are laws, regulations and statutes important? Laws, regulation and statues are important because they provide employees with details information regarding company procedures and how they contribute to legislative compliance. It also promotes a workplace culture in which compliance with legislation is a high priority. It provides staff with immediate information about changes to legislation and how the changes effect there work. It provides a forum for employees to ask questions about legislation, regulations and statutory requirements and also offers opportunities to discuss legislative requirements and compliance processes.
Assessment Activity 2
1. Summarise what you consider duty of care to entail.
A duty of care (in Tort Law) is a legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring that they abide to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could harm others. This means that a person acting in a caring role has a legal obligation to act in ways that protect client and that prevent foreseeable harm. It also implies a legal obligation to have thought or regard for those who might be affected by ones acts or omissions. In forefilling duty of care obligations, therefore, community service workers must know what their duty of care entails and must take steps to provide a reasonable standard of care and to ensure that through their work practice harm to others does not occur.
2. Greg worked in an out of school hours care centre. One afternoon he brought in some CDs and put one on for Alice and Amanda to listen to. They were in the gym because Greg was also watching over some older children playing badminton. Alice and Amanda got up and began dancing around energetically. They hopped, skipped, and bounced around with great joy. Suddenly Amanda fell over. The gym floor was slippery and the girls had taken off their shoes but not their tights. Was there a breach of duty of care? Explain.
Greg didn’t have a breach of duty as care. Although he provided the girls with music to listen to (not to dance to) he was not supervising them close enough to notice they had got up and began to dance. Although he was watching the game of badminton he should have kept an eye on the girls regularly as they are also under his duty of care. He should have noticed them dancing energetically but all of his focus was on the badminton game. Although he told the girls to listen to the music and did not allow them to dance the girls are under his care and he should have also supervised them closely.
Assessment Activity 3
How can you evaluate your own skills and why should you do so? Anyone can evaluate their own skills by many of the following ways. Asking for positive and negative feedback from co-workers and supervisors to improve and also motivate and strive to improve. Employees must know what is expected from them including their roles, responsibilities, lines of authority and reporting procedures. By asking co-workers, supervisors or boss appropriate questions it allows you to learn more and feel confident without running any risks. Also many resources should be provided in the child care environment to help evaluate your skills. It is important to evaluate your skills so that as an employee your performance is to a high standard for the organisation. It also allows employees to know what is expected and to identify any performance problems. Evaluating your skills helps to keep the employees organised and confident.
Assessment Activity 4
1. What information is normally stored in client files and what is it used for? Client data such as case assessments, past history, personal data, family details, medical notes, psychological and therapeutical assessments, recreational and leisure preferences, etc should be recorded in client files. These client files are used for appropriate authorised staff only. This information is only collected when it is directly relevant to the treatment, service or case management being offered. 2. What legislation and regulatory requirements need to be complied with when collecting client information? When collecting client information there are regulatory and legislation requirements that need to be complied. Privacy and confidentiality is dictated by law and must only be discussed within the facility by appropriately authorised staff. When the clients records are recorded each organisation will have their own method of storing client files but there are also a number of Acts, regulations, administrative circulars and resources to health information. These specify that:
Agencies can only collect personal information for a lawful purpose that is directly related to their functions, if collecting the information is necessary for or directly related to that purpose. If an agency asks people for personal information about themselves, it must tell the person or their authorised representative why it is collecting the information, whether it has legal authority to collect the information, how and by whom the information will be used. An agency must take reasonable care to check that personal information is accurate, up to date and complete before using it
The agency must do its best to make sure that the information is relevant to the agency’s reason for collecting it, up to date, of high quality, complete and protected from unauthorised access. A person whose information is held by a government or a private agency has a right to expect the agency will hold it securely and will ensure that access to the information is permitted only for legitimate purposes. The individual concerned shall be entitled to have access to their records, under the principles of access dictated by the Freedom of Information Act 1982. An agency must not use personal information for any purpose other than that for which it obtained the information
Assessment activity 5
Why is it necessary to seek the agreement of the client prior to providing services? Every client has their rights and it is necessary to be aware of and protect the clients rights. Clients for instance have the right to the following: Deciding whether or not to undergo medical treatment after receiving an explanation of what is involved and any associated risks Be treated with reasonable care and skill, by appropriately qualified personnel Confidentiality of information about medical conditions and treatment Receive courteous and respectful service, with no mental, physical or financial abuse Receive services that respect their dignity and privacy promotes their autonomy.
Receive services from a provider who recognises their individuality, is sensitive to and responds to their needs and preferences, including those based on ethnic, spiritual, linguistic, familial and cultural factors Suitable information about the organisation/s providing the services Work with the service provider in developing a plan of service, and to participate in the review and evaluation or revision of their service plan Raise concerns or recommend changes in connection with the community services provided or in connection with policies and decisions that affect client interests without fear of interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal Be informed of the laws, rules and policies affecting the operation of the service with which they are interacting Confidentiality of records and personal information
Assessment activity 6
1. Draw on the text and your own experience to explain the ways in which organisational policies and procedures can assist with the provision of services A policy is a high level, overall plan embracing the general goals and expectations of an institution or organisation. These policies assist with the provision of services as they are a statement that guides behaviour and sets general parameters related to how the business will be conducted and to what is expected of employees. For example – at my work a child developed hand, foot and mouth and we didn’t know the incubation period. We checked the policy and it told us exactly how long, what it will look like when it isn’t contagious and we will need a medical clearance from the doctor. We were able to refer to the policy to advise and inform the parents on this information.
Procedures are the documented instructions on how policies should be practically applied. These procedures assist with the provision of services as it involves staff rosters, managing crisis situations, managing workplace programs and timetable management systems, coping with emergencies, conducting team meetings, administrative systems of the workplace including filing and record keeping, and staff security and safety procedures for responding to physical violence. For example, at my work we have the nappy procedures on the wall above the nappy change area. This reminds all workers and especially casuals of our expectations and procedures of changing each child’s nappies.
2. Why is it necessary that employees perform work according to the policies, procedures and protocols of the organisation for which they work? Policies, protocols and procedures include guidelines and practices developed to address legal, ethical and regulatory requirements. Each organisation has written policy and staff need to know how to access and interpret this documentation and why it is necessary to comply with the different policies and procedures.
A policy is seen as a guideline rather than a rule and staff must comply to these for the safety and wellbeing of the children and adults. It is necessary that employees know what is expected of them and must consistently behave in a manner that supports the organisations policies, protocols and procedures. Following these policies, protocols and procedures also ensures a consistent high level of service to all clients. This will contribute to the organisations reputation and credibility. Clients will know what to expect from the service and will be able to interact on the appropriate levels.
Assessment activity 7
1. What are some useful questions that might be asked when reviewing and evaluating existing organisational policies, procedures and protocols? Some useful questions that might be asked when reviewing and evaluating existing organisational policies, procedures and protocols include What is the aim and purpose of the policy, procedure or protocol? What is it attempting to address (eg improve safety, make staff aware of required service standards)? How is its current effectiveness measured?
How current is the existing policy on which procedures and protocols are based? How relevant are the policies, procedures and protocols to issues being faced by the organisation, its clients, staff and/or organisation? Are there clear and direct links between the policies and operational procedures? Have organisational policies been disseminated to all staff? When policies were first written, what research was carried out and are the findings still available? What current research or best practice information might improve/ change or impact on the policy content and application and on the associated development of procedures and protocols?
2. For what reasons is it necessary to periodically assess and evaluate policies? It is necessary to periodically assess and evaluate policies to determine whether they are being adhered to and whether they continue to be relevant to the organisation and its clients. Where policies are no longer relevant, outdated or not used then they might need revision. Also due to changing conditions it can be necessary to implement new policies and procedures. 3. Why should staff be involved in reviews and contribute to the development of new policies, procedures and protocols? Employee’s should also contribute and involve themselves to any policies and procedures that they think are necessary. Each of their opinions should be contributed to the development of reviewing policies, procedures and protocols. Each employee’s voice and insight should be heard and respected.
Assessment activity 8
1. What information enables employees to work within their position specifications, role responsibilities and scope of practice? The particular job specifications for each employee outlined in broad terms, (enables employees to work within their position specifications, role responsibilities and scope of practise) the employees role, tasks and relationships with others in the organisation. It also outlines the employees responsibilities and obligations, required skilled levels, knowledge requirements, level of authority and decision making expectations.
3. How can you clarify your job role, scope and responsibilities? You must know what your role is and how you are expected to perform alongside the performance standards. You must understand what boundaries apply to your role and others so that you can contribute to the organisation and perform the work you are expected to do according to your position specifications and role responsibilities. Whilst some of the organisations expectations will be outlined in the job specifications or will be clarified as a result of supervisor instructions, the workplace culture will determine the non-written, informal expectations of the workplace. Other expectations will be clarified by managers and supervisors who provide training, information, instructions and support.
3. What should you do if you are in a situation where the necessary actions are beyond your scope of responsibility? Employees must have a clear understanding of the boundaries where they work. Boundaries, levels of authority and responsibilities will vary according to the job type but legal constraints will also impact on what staff can and cannot do. If you are in a situation where the necessary actions are beyond your scope of responsibility it is best to talk to a supervisor or manager as it is not your responsibility to deal with that situation legally with regards to clients, the organisation and stakeholders.
Assessment Activity 9
1. If you do not understand the task instructions you are given, what action should you take? When you do not understand the task instructions given you should seek assistance and clarification of unclear instructions in order to understand and perform tasks correctly. It is also convenient to make notes during any training so you can rely on yourself and not always others to perform these tasks.
2. You are a new graduate, recently been employed in a community centre. You have been asked to develop the next weeks leisure program for the residents in the facility. You have seen previous programs but would like to try out some new ideas. You are not sure if the program you have worked out is suitable, or whether it fits within budgetary constraints. Who would you ask and why? If I were in this situation I would ask my mentor in the facility (often boss) as they are aware of the routines within the place and the past leisure programs which have been successful and which haven’t.
This mentor will be able to provide you with information to see if the budgetary constraints are available and correct and they will tell you if it is suitable. They will provide you with information of what will work well and what they think you could change. 3. Why is it important to seek clarification of unclear instructions or of instructions that you do not understand? It is extremely important to seek clarification of unclear instructions or of instructions that are not understood as they can lead to dangerous or costly mistakes. Never make assumptions in a situation that you are even the slightest unaware of as it can result dangerously.
Assessment activity 10
1. Explain what is meant by equity and access
Community support workers must adopt a non-discriminatory approach to care provision. They must support the principles of equity, access and social justice. This acts to support the rights on the client when delivering services to them. Equity principles acknowledge there are groups of people who have different needs due to the attributes they were born with or have acquired and which cannot be changed. Equity legislation ensured that no group is disadvantaged (or advantaged) at the cost of another. This also means that people should also have access to quality care suitable to their individual needs. This might entail providing additional assistance to some people to meet requirements. The quality must be high in both equity and access. 2. How can community service workers protect the rights of clients?
Community service workers protect the rights of clients by adopting a non-discriminatory approach to care provision. They must not discriminate clients by their age, race, gender, ethnic or cultural background, religion, sexual preference, physical of intellectual disability, medical condition, political beliefs, marital status, family circumstances or responsibilities and economic situation. The protection and preservation of these rights should be integrated into organisational policies and procedures. Clients are entitled to experience a quality of care that respects their unique attributes and caters to their individual needs in a manner that is free from prejudice and harassment.
Assessment Activity 11
What actions might a community service worker take if they believe that conflict of interest exists? This might affect them directly or it might involve other staff members. Employees can be exposed to competing value systems and to ideas and expectations that are so dissimilar from their own that they are unsure of how to react and they may also be confronted with situations which comprise a conflict of interest. If a community service worker believe that conflict of interest exists they must contact your boss immediately to stop the situation from escalating. Avoid any informal discussions about it that might influence others on the matter. If you are finding it difficult seek legal advice if you feel it Is impossible to resolve this conflict.
Assessment Activity 12
1. What are some of the differences you might come across when interacting with clients, customers, colleagues and workmates in a community service organisation? In a community service organisation you can come across many differences between people, their cultures and their values which can enrich and enhance all of our lives. Some differences include knowledge, interests, customs, ethnic food, art works, retail products and customs they can incorporate into their lives. It is necessary to accept everyone’s differences and understand and comply with the legislation that has been put into place to support fairness, equity, social justice and non-discriminatory practise regardless of personal values, beliefs, attitudes and culture. This diversity can contribute to everyone’s lives, making it exciting, richer, fuller and a lot more interesting. 2. Explain what the term culture means to you.
Culture to me means the quality of a particular group of people who have different behaviour patterns defined by their language, knowledge, experience, religion, beliefs, values, attitudes, music and arts. It is a group of people who have a different way of life to another group of people. These communities and cultures make everyone who they are and extend on the worlds interests. 3. Why is it so important to recognise and understand the difference between people and their cultures? It is important to recognise and understand the difference between people and their cultures because the way we look at situations is coloured by the experience we have had. We view situations through our cultural filters but our view is generally subconscious so we are not aware of the ways in which our perceptions and reactions are influenced.
In the community service industry it is necessary to be aware that clients will come from a wide variety of backgrounds and as workers we need to provide services that meet the cultural and preferential needs of clients to refrain from making assumptions, based on their own perceptions, about client’s needs and preferences. They need to understand that the things they consider to be necessary or right might not be considered so by others. When providing these services it is therefore necessary that employees do not make assumptions and they make allowance for the fact that two opposite perceptions can exist. 4. List and briefly describe three strategies that an organisation might follow to ensure that the cultural and diverse needs of a client/ customer are met.
To ensure that services are available to all clients regardless of personal values, beliefs, attitudes and culture community services and their employees must: Respect peoples differences and their rights to do things differently. Imagine your own feelings when others do not respect the values which are vital in your own life. Even if in your culture a certain mode of behaviour is frowned upon it might be acceptable in another country. Respect that different cultures have food requirements due to religious reasons. Provide them with alternative foods when there is a meal they cannot have. Recognise that ethnicity and culture may have an impact on a client’s behaviour. Assist clients to become aware of their own cultural values and let them know we respect that. Allow them to incorporate their beliefs and celebrations to the society, as well as within the organisation.
Assessment activity 13
1. Why do you think community service organisations should have policies and expectations regarding professional boundaries, the acceptance of gifts and ethical interactions with clients? Ethics might be defined as philosophical ideals and behaviours that are in agreement with accepted principles for right conduct. These principles, rules and expectations are determined and agreed upon by the society and communities in which people live. I believe there need to be policies and expectations regarding professional boundaries as employees must remember their relationship with their clients are proper and that these boundaries are not crossed. Clients and carers can build strong relationships with one another but the service provided to the clients must remain transparent and professional at all times. Clients can build a strong bond with their carers (more personal than professional) which can put an unaware carer into a vulnerable position.
These ethical standards must also be complied with and remain professional. Acceptance of gifts is often not allowed in government organisations due to the appropriateness of the gifts. Clients can also manipulate staff by giving presents. All of these policies are an act to protect workers and their clients from not being taken advantage of and for their own protection. 2. What actions should staff take if they believe that another person is acting unethically or if they are confronted with an ethical dilemma that affects themselves? If you are in this position it is best to report the situation to avoid any further harm.
Each employee should be competent to handle potential and actual problems to the level of their responsibility and within the service guidelines and procedures. Where the dispute is outside the scope of the employee it should be further noticed to an authorised person to handle the matter. The service will have procedures designed to ensure that ethical issues can be resolved fast and efficiently and to ensure a resolution. Disputes should be resolved in a matter which is professional and within the standard requirements of the organisation and any legislative requirements.
Assessment Activity 14
1. Why should client-related matters only be discussed within the confines on the facility? Client related matters should only be discussed within the confines of the facility and authorised people within the enterprise. Each organisation has specific guidelines for employees to follow regarding disclosure and confidentiality. Personal and sensitive information about a case or disclosures made by a client to the person overseeing their care should remain confidential unless there is a legal need for this disclosure – self harm.
2. How can staff in community service organisations ensure that client information is protected? Staff in community service organisations can ensure that client information is protected by agreeing to their organisations guidelines and remaining confidential. Staff must be aware that information must only be discussed in ways or places where the discussion can be overheard by unauthorised people. All client information that is collected must be documented, recorded and stored safely within the premises. To ensure all information is appropriately protected, staff can demonstrate effective application of guidelines and legal requirements relating to disclosure and confidentiality.
Assessment activity 15
1. How can you encourage clients or their advocates to bring issues or concerns out into the open – to identify and express their concerns?
Clients or their advocates might have complaints or grievances that need to be heard and followed up in order for them to not feel this way. To support the clients it will be necessary to help identify the real concerns or issues. Once these have been identified they can be properly expressed. Question the client using open, closed and probing questions. Paraphrase or repeat back to the client the information you receive. This enables you and the client to agree on the meaning of the concerns. Evaluate any outcomes resulting from your action, and decide, with your client, if further action is required.
2. Why is it necessary to do this?
It is necessary to bring these issues or concerns out into the open so there is no disagreement or feeling of concern with these clients or advocates. The community service workers role involves aiding and supporting the client and/or advocate so they can identify and express any concerns they might have. By assisting the client to identify and articulate their concerns, the employee and the organisation are in a position to ensure that client’s needs are met.
Assessment activity 16
1. What procedures might be used to refer a client to an advocacy service? The term advocate is often applied in a legal sense to plead the case for a defendant and is another name for legal counsel in some cultures. Often an advocate will act on behalf of disadvantaged or disenfranchised groups whose rights need to be upheld. If you feel that advocacy might benefit a client it is necessary to explain to the client what is involved in the representation by an advocate and why it might be beneficial. Before making a referral the client must be consulted and agree to be represented.
If that person is unable to give consent a duly authorised guardian/ family member might be called to give upon consent. Staff can then select suitable advocacy contacts for the client and can offer to contact them on the client’s behalf. The staff member making the referral might offer to attend the introductory meeting in order to support the client and make them feel more comfortable. The client must be fully informed about processes and potential outcomes.
2. Why might this be necessary?
It is necessary to go through these procedures to obtain informed consent from an individual client and protect the client’s rights through legal services. If for instance, a client has a physical or intellectual disability that impedes on their communication it affects comprehension you must do everything possible to make sure the client really has given informed consent.
Assessment activity 17
Describe the steps that might be followed to aid a client in using the internal complaint management process When dealing with complaints it is necessary to remain calm and not react defensively. Be polite, treat the client and their complaint with respect and demonstrate willingness to negotiate a solution. Document the conversation, store and file it so they are available when needed. Empathise with the client and try to see the issue from their point of view. This doesn’t mean you accept blame but you are willing to assist the client.
Give the client a time frame and deliver answers to your questions. Listen carefully to what they tell you Check to ensure that you and the client agree on what the complaint is intended to address. Make sure the clients know that the information they disclose will be respected and that their confidentiality will be remained if appropriate. Ask the client what outcome resolution they are expecting and provide information to the client about the most effective resolution process. If you are unable to handle the complaint or make resolution decisions then it is necessary to escalate to an authorised person who can manage the situation. Follow up on the complaint to ensure that te client has been given sufficient information and is satisfied
Assessment activity 18
1. What are some of the signs with financial, physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect?
Financial – sudden inability to pay bills, unusual or unexplained withdrawals or transfer of funds between bank accounts, loans made by the client but not repaid by the borrower, coercion to make investments Physical – unexplained accidents or injuries, bruising, burns, bite marks, abrasions, rope burns or fractures. Emotional – signs of fear and anxiety, apathy, resignation, depression, withdrawal and avoidance of eye contact Sexual abuse – psychological and emotional distress symptoms Neglect – malnutrition, malnourishment, dehydration, poor hygiene or skin care, soiled clothing, and in the case of the elderly or people with a disability a lack of aids like dentures, glasses, walking frame or stick.
2. What should community service employees do if they observe such signs?
Any suspected or observed signs of potential harm to a client or a person associated with the client must be taken seriously and reported immediately. Reports should also be made if a person has suspicions or observations that lead to a reasonable belief that a person intends self-harm or suicide. All reports should be clearly indicated and then documented and filed safely in case of any further investigations. All information regarding abuse or neglect should be passed onto the people or authorised bodies to take action to remedy them. Reports could therefore be made, depending on the type of neglect or abuse, to a supervisor, manager, the police or other authorised persons.
Assessment activity 19
1. What are some of the cultural differences that might impact on communication processes?
Cultural differences such as language used and the forms of language used, religious affiliations, practices and beliefs, spiritual needs, education, work ethics, food choices, preferences and taboos, holiday and religious observances, family customs and holiday celebrations can impact on communication processes. It can affect communication through verbal or written and also the body language gestures and para-language that people use. When communicating with people from other cultures you have to be aware of speaking to fast or slow, using slang words, low or high volume, not listening actively, not asking questions, using inappropriate body language and gestures and/or inappropriate humour. These could become offensive to people from other cultures.
2. What are some of the strategies that might be used to overcome verbal communication difficulties in the workplace?
It is necessary to learn about different cultures from which your clients come from and to learn about some of the idiosyncrasies associated with them. Some strategies to help when communicating with people from another culture is to be patient speak clearly but do not shout. Repeat yourself, speak slowly, use signage, gestures, draw diagrams or pictures etc. Use appropriate body language, para-language, gestures and facial expression will also aid the communication process and overcome communication difficulties.
3. Why might a professional interpreter be used?
Interpreters are used because they are professionally trained to understand the clients situation and understand both the verbal and non-verbal communication involved. An objective interpreter will ensure that accurate communication occurs while cultural sensitivities and confidentiality are taken into account. In time of crisis or in traumatic or emotionally charged situations, second-language competency can decrease dramatically. Being able to communicate in their first language can make clients feel much more secure and comfortable and qualified interpreters are bound by strict code of ethics, therefore, they practise impartiality and their conduct is professional.
4. How should community service employees recognise and respond to religious diversity?
Community service employees should recognise and respond to religious diversity as spiritually it can be an important predictor of the quality of life of individuals receiving these services. Providing for spiritual support and making them allowance for clients to practice their religion is therefore, a responsibility of the organisation. The service needs to determine whether a client embraces some form of spirituality and the ways in which they practice this. Simply asking clients which religion they belong to is not an adequate means or determining spiritual needs. Obtaining a comprehensive history that addresses these issues during the assessment will be necessary. Family and other significant people could also be consulted regarding their perception of the client’s spiritual needs. Clients might have to assist in articulating the things that are important to them personally. Spiritual advice and support for some clients can be very appreciated.