Professional Boundaries Policy and Procedure
County Care recognises that it is important for their staff to establish a rapport with Service Users and provide friendly, caring and accessible services. The rights and needs of Service Users and their families and friends will be respected at all times.
However, it is acknowledged within County Care that the relationship between the Service User and Care Worker is not one of equal balance. County Care understands that the relationship with Service Users must focus solely upon meeting the needs of the Individual. It is not established to build personal or social contacts for staff. Moving the focus of Care away from meeting the needs of individuals or those who care for them, towards meeting the member of staff's own needs is an unacceptable abuse of power. This power must not be abused at any time. It is essential, therefore, that all interactions between Service Users, their families and County Care staff must be in the context of a professional relationship. Staff will therefore have a clear framework within which to provide Care. County Care will make it clear that the responsibility to maintain professional boundaries rests with individual members of staff.
We recognise that a member of staff may develop an attachment towards a particular Service User or Service Users and while this may be natural, County Care staff or those engaged in work on our behalf, must ensure that this does not lead to a breach of professional boundaries. We take the breach of personal and professional boundaries very seriously and failure to follow this policy may result in disciplinary action. Breaches of professional boundaries may require investigation under County Care's Safeguarding procedures and we will ensure we dovetail with any local policies and procedures alerting CQC and see Registered Manager Safeguarding Team without delay.
It is quite possible that at some point someone known to a staff member or a relative may need Care from County Care. It is the member of staff's responsibility to inform their manager of the relationship, so that they are not directly involved in the Care. Otherwise they may be perceived to be in a position leading to a conflict of loyalties.
Managers will agree a course of action which may include putting systems in place where staff would have no involvement with the Service User’s Care.
Off duty staff should, wherever practicable, avoid situations where their responsibilities to County Care and Service Users conflict with their private interests. Staff should not knowingly arrange to meet a Service User or those who care for them off-duty or to take them home. Where an employee does meet a Service User outside of work in a social situation, the general advice given above must be followed.
Where Staff find themselves in a situation where you see Service Users outside work on a frequent basis, they should declare this to Carolyn Jarvis. Carolyn Jarvis has a responsibility to discuss potential conflict of interest and any other implications for County Care
Staff must be careful not to influence a Service User with their own beliefs and personal values. Staff should also be aware of their potential to influence vulnerable and/or impressionable individuals. Failure to follow this may result in disciplinary action
‘Gossip’ or hearsay should not feature as an aspect of County Care culture and should be discouraged among both staff and Service Users
Staff must never share personal details about other staff with Service Users
Staff must never discuss other staff members with Service Users except on issues relating directly to the Service User's Care work
Staff must never discuss Service Users with other Individuals and other third parties without the Service User's consent
Staff must not interact with the Service Users, their families and friends on Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, etc. and must not accept requests to join their network or ‘friend' them
Staff must not discuss or post about their work, their Service Users, other staff or any other aspect of their work with County Care on Social Network sites such as Twitter, Linkedln, Instagran, blog sites or other media such as radio, TV or newspaper/magazines without prior approval from Carolyn Jarvis
Staff must not use their mobile phones whilst providing Care to a Service User to avoid both breach of confidentiality and promote the dignity and respect of the Service User. Mobile phones should be switched onto silent and not answered whilst in the Service User's home. Failure to follow this process may result in disciplinary action
It is the responsibility of County Care to support staff working in the homes of Service Users and ensure they are aware of the times they are delivering Care and not call them during this time.
Where any of the above does occur, the incident must be brought to the attention of Carolyn Jarvis as soon as possible.
Influencing, Imposing Personal Views and Opinions
Staff must be careful not to influence the Service User with their own beliefs and personal values
Staff should also be aware of their potential to influence vulnerable and/or impressionable individuals
Although morality, religion and politics are common areas of conversation and Service Users may wish to discuss their views with the Care Worker, staff should never promote or impose their own views
In assessing a Service User and creating a Care Plan, County Care should take account of spiritual, religious, social and cultural factors, as well as their medical history. It may, therefore, be appropriate to ask a Service User about their personal beliefs. However, staff must not put pressure on a Service User to discuss or justify their beliefs or the absence of them
Care Workers should keep the discussion relevant to the Service User's Care during their visit. If the Care Worker discloses any personal information to a Service User, including talking to a Service User about personal beliefs, the Care Worker must be very careful not to breach the professional boundary that exists between them. These boundaries are essential to maintaining a relationship of trust between a Care Worker and a Service User
Care Workers should not borrow, lend or buy items or goods from Service Users. This includes catalogues, etc.
Where a Care Worker has concerns about a Service User's finances, they should escalate these concerns to Carolyn Jarvis immediately. Care Workers should not buy shopping /goods for Service User's from their own money as this may lead to safeguarding issues
Staff should not enter a Service User's home without them being present as this may lead to safeguarding incidents
Staff are not permitted to undertake Care on a private basis for a Service User with whom County Care has an agreement.
Professional boundaries set limits for safe, acceptable and effective behavior by Care Workers.
A conversation that includes unverified information, gossip, rumors.