Understand the Implications of Duty of Care

Duty of Care is defined simply as a legal obligation to:
•always act in the best interest of individuals and others
•not act or fail to act in a way that results in harm
•act within your competence and not take on anything you do not believe you can safely do.

As a care worker you owe a duty of care to the people you support, your colleagues, your employer, yourself and the public interest. Everyone has a duty of care – it is not something that you can opt out of.

When acting in a person’s best interests you must do so with their consent unless you have evidence that the person lacks capacity to make that particular decision at the time it needs to be made

Understand how duty of care contributes to safe practice

Your duty of care means that you must aim to provide high quality care to the best of your ability and say if there are any reasons why you may be unable to do so.

When professionals act within a duty of care they must do what a reasonable person, with their training and background, can be expected to do. So, for example, an accountant must get their sums right and apply for the right tax exemptions for their clients. In the same way, a care provider is expected to be trustworthy, in accordance with their code of practice, and apply suitable skills when carrying out care services.

Providers and care workers must always take reasonable care. This means you must:
•keep your knowledge and skills up to date
•provide a service of no less quality than that to be expected, based on the skills, responsibilities and range of activities within your particular work or profession
•be in a position to know what must be done to ensure that the service is provided safely
•keep accurate and up-to-date records of the care and support you provide, including any assessment of someone’s capacity and the rationale for any decisions that are taken on their behalf
•not delegate work, or accept delegated work, unless it is clear that the person to...