Having a duty of care in my work role basically means that I have a legal obligation to behave in a way that does not cause any harm to the service users and to always act in the best interest of them and others. It also means that I must never act outside of my competence or take on any work that I don’t believe that I can carry out safely. It means that I owe a duty of care to the service users I support, my colleagues, my employer and also the public. Duty of care contributes to the safeguarding of individuals by helping to prevent abuse whether this is in a sexual, physical or emotionally harmful way. It also helps to preserve the respect and dignity of the individuals. Give examples of and describe three potential dilemmas or conflicts that might arise between individual rights and duty of care. Describe how to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care. Dilemma 1
A service user I support has refused to take medication which is very important to their mental health. How to manage the risks? This is a dilemma because it’s the individual’s right to refuse to take their medication but is also my duty of care to make sure they are safe. I would remind them why they take the medication and the benefits of taking them as well as the risks of not taking them. If they still refuse after this then I would log it in the communication book as well as leave a note on my managers desk. At the end of my shift I would hand it over to the next staff member. This way all staff members will be aware of the situation and will be able to monitor the situation.
A service user has come to me and said that he is going to have a meal with his parents in a pub bearing in mind that he is a recovering alcoholic and is in a vulnerable state of mind. This is a dilemma because he has a legal right to go in a pub but it conflicts with my duty of care to protect him from exposure to alcohol. How to manage the risks?
I would discuss the risks involved with him going into a pub as well as the consequences involved such as being given a discharge from his treatment programme and breaking the rules of his tenancy. I would let him know that it is his choice but in my experience it is not a wise move. If he decides to do it anyway I would hand it over to staff taking over from me and also leave a communication to my manager. Dilemma 3
A service user discloses information to me that he is being bullied by another service user but has asked me to keep this information to myself as he fears if it gets out that he has told someone he may be in danger of physical or mental abuse.
How to manage the risks?
I would reassure the service user that we have a zero tolerance with things like this and that he doesn’t have to suffer with this anymore. I would explain that I could not guarantee confidentiality with something like this and that I will have to pass it on to management but I would ensure that nobody else will find out only myself and management. When disclosing the information I would follow all relevant policies and procedures. Explain where to get support and advice about conflicts and dilemmas. I could access support and advice about conflicts and dilemmas from my manager, the internet, from outside agencies, work colleagues and also my companies policies and procedures.