We aim at all times to respect the right of our service users to privacy and dignity and recognise that these values can easily be threatened by the processes covering the provision of care in a service user's own home.
Assessing Care Needs
Nu Staff recognise that making an assessment of the needs of a service user can be very intrusive. We are obliged to ask questions about the most intimate areas of a service user's life and it is helpful at the outset of our contact to observe a service user in their own private environment where care and support will be delivered. We will do everything possible to limit the embarrassment a service user can experience at this stage and to provide all possible reassurances about the nature of our operations generally and particularly the confidentiality of our information systems and the sensitivity of our workforce.
Some potential service users will wish a carer or representative to be present during the assessment of needs, but we do not assume that they will necessarily be privy to all of the information the service user has to provide about themselves. If it seems helpful we will arrange for some parts of the assessment to take place with the service user alone.
During the period when we are providing services, we need from time to time to review the situation to ensure that our services remain appropriate and to make adjustments to respond to changing care needs. If the staff who undertake a review are not already known to the service user, it will require additional sensitivity since, from the service user's point of view, they are confronting a stranger. In a sense, a fresh invader of their private space.
Care workers too may pick up some information about a service user's changing care needs during the process of service delivery. The worker should check with the service user whether they have any objection to details being recorded, though they may have to explain that information does indeed have to be shared with colleagues in the agency.
Handling Information about Service Users within the Agency
When information about service users has to be passed from a care worker to a manager, or between care workers, it will always be treated with respect. Arrangements for processing, handling and storing data are based on the need to retain as much privacy for our service users as possible.
Behaviour of Care Workers
Care workers are instructed never to forget that they are guests in the service user's home, and that they must be careful that familiarity does not blunt the respect they should continue to show to their host.
We know that some service users have forms of address for themselves to which they are particularly attached, or conversely forms they find particularly offensive. Our care workers will make note of and observe such individual preferences, they'll always address a service user by their chosen name, and know that the acceptable usage may vary between people or over time.
We recognise that the carrying out of some support tasks, particularly those relating to intimate bodily functions, places a service user's privacy and dignity at severe risk. We undertake that our care workers will show great tact in such situations.
Some situations may carry additional sensitivity if the worker is a different sex from the service user, so we will attempt if asked to provide service users with same sex care staff.
Care workers have been instructed to be alert to the potential invasion of privacy involved in handling a service user's personal possessions or documents, and will always respect boundaries the service user chooses to set.
If a service user is particularly sensitive about their privacy or dignity in any other area of their lifestyle, care workers will tread with particular care.
Service Users from Minority Groups
We are aware that issues of privacy and dignity may be specially sensitive when the service user is from a minority group. We seek to make our staff alert to points of cultural difference they may encounter in their work and we encourage our service users to draw to our attention any particular matter of which we should be aware.