Unit name: Duty of Care
Learning outcome: 2. Understand support available for addressing dilemmas that may arise about duty of care
Assessment criteria: 2.1 Describe dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights
As previously explained, your duty of care as a care worker means that you have a responsibility to ensure that the individuals that you care for are protected from harm and abuse.
However, individuals receiving care also have the right to make their own choices freely and this can often be in conflict with your obligation to keep them from harm.
For example, an individual with a learning disability may like to play football with their friends but there is always a risk of injury from partaking in this activity. Similarly, an individual with paranoid schizophrenia may refuse to take their antipsychotic medication. Or an individual may disclose to you that they are being abused but not want you to tell anyone.
When faced with such dilemmas it is important to respect the decisions of individuals, whilst also following your duty of care.
In the case of the football player, you would probably want to encourage healthy activity but work with them to put a risk assessment in place to minimise the risk of injury.
Regarding the refusal of medication, you may explain the benefits of the medication and give them time to change their mind. You would respect their choice to refuse but would still have to make a call to your manager, their GP or NHS Direct to seek further guidance.
And finally, if somebody discloses to you that they are the victim of abuse, you must explain to them that it is your duty to share this information with others as part of your duty of care and report it to your manager or safeguarding lead.