Induction Standards for Northern Ireland
Standard 1: Understand the principles of care: Confidentiality
If you work in social care you have privileged access to information about the people you care for. They depend on you and you become involved in their personal affairs. If the carer cannot be trusted to keep information safe, people who use services will feel insecure and unsafe. Confidentiality is the key to the confidence that people have in you as a social care worker. Confidence and confidentiality go hand in hand.
Look at the following resources:
- SCIE Care Skillsbase, Skill Check 2 : Reading about the principles of care: What does confidentiality mean to you?
- Mind, the mental health charity, has produced a Legal briefing: confidentiality and data protection.
- The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) has produced Staff Guidance on Confidentiality. Wherever you work, its principles are the ones to follow.
Check your understanding
- On occasions, it may be appropriate for you to breach confidentiality. Make a list of the circumstances when this might happen and go through it with your supervisor.
- Mrs B has just had a visit from her general practitioner (GP). He has told her some very upsetting news about her condition. She shares this news with you but asks you not to tell her son and daughter, as ‘she doesn’t want to worry them’. What do you do when her daughter asks you directly if her mother’s health is getting worse?
Did you know?
- The right to confidentiality is guaranteed partly by the Data Protection Act, 1998, partly by the Human Rights Act 1998 and partly by common law.
Record what you have learned
- Your organisation may have a Learning Record Form. If so, use that to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have. Otherwise you can use our Learning Record Form.