Duty of Care

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Duty of care may be considered a formalization of the social contract, the implicit responsibilities held by individuals towards others within society in tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others Content 1 Understand the meaning of duty of care Concept of ‘duty of care’: legal obligation; duty of care towards children and adults using services, colleagues and own self; requirement to work in best interest of child or adult using the service; care practice which is not detrimental to the health wellbeing and safety of the child or adult; carrying out care practice only within own level of competence, role and responsibility How the duty of care affects own work role: carrying out duties only for which you are competent and in own job description and declining care work which is not; being accountable for own decisions and actions; following standard procedures in all aspects of work including use of resources and equipment; providing standards of care in line with principle and codes of practice of setting/service; need to observe confidentiality; need to be observant; importance of induction and regular updating of knowledge and skills; duty to report concerns (whistleblowing) 2 Be aware of dilemmas that may arise about duty of care and the support available for addressing them Dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights: balance between health and safety and an individual’s human rights and freedoms; concept of ‘mental capacity’; rights of children to make choices about own care; tensions between individual choice and keeping safe from harm; conflict between confidentiality and need to share information in the interest of the individual or public safety

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