Direct Support Professionals provide support for people with a disability and “should be aware of the content of the Australasian Code of Ethics for Direct Support Professionals, as it provides “a common framework to assist with both the education and day-to-day work of direct support professionals.” (McVilly & Newell, 2007, p. 4). McVilly & Newell (2007) also state that as Direct Support Professionals, they have to adhere to the highest professional standards when working with clients. One of the ethics that should to be adhered to is relationships, which is very important between a Direct Support Professional and person with a disability as boundaries need to set “in relationships between professionals and their clients and to provide a mechanism for monitoring ethical professional behaviours,” (Lord Nelson, Summers, & Turnbull, 2004, p. 153). Direct Support Professionals value and respect their relationships with clients in order to work in a professional way and to build a core of trust between the two parties.
The importance of the principle in the disability field
Relationship is an important code of ethic in the disability field as it requires Direct Support Professionals to be “open and honest about the boundaries and limitations of their professional relationships”, (McVilly & Newell, 2007, p. 4). Disability Support Professionals work with clients in a professional way which it creates value and admiration. Once the trust is built within the relationship, it becomes very beneficial for the support worker in terms of gaining a lot of information that is needed from the client and that the client has faith in the support professional in keeping that information private. Relationships also include contact and communication with a client, the client’s family and also the relationships between the client and their friends and sexual relationships. Robinson & Thorne (1998) explain that it is important to have a successful relationship with a client and/or their family, as trust and honesty is essential when dealing with clients, client’s family and friends. “Families must be considered as genuine partners, rather than simply a group of people who must be considered,” (Atkinson, Parmenter, Knox, & Yazbeck, 2000). Direct Support Professionals work together with their clients’ families and friends. (McVilly & Newell (2007) explains that the partnership is developed by a welcoming of their participation in the development and delivery of services, to the extent that it meets their client’s needs. “Importantly, Direct Support Professionals should take seriously their obligation to communicate openly and honestly with the person, regardless of that person’s disability (Budiselik, 2010, p.18). The Relationship ethic clarifies that Direct Support Professionals work to avoid being reliant on dependant relationships. This is done by supporting their clients to have a network which is varied, in both their social and professional relationships. As Direct Support Professionals, they need to know the limits of a professional association and need to “avoid blurring the boundaries between professional and personal relationships, which could compromise the services they provide,” (McVilly & Newell, 2007, p.18).
Whether there are any issues in implementing the principle
One of the biggest issues with applying the ethic ‘Relationship’ is the capability of the Direct Support Professional to follow the procedures involved in order to be a professional and to meet client’s needs. “The quality of support provided by Direct Support Professionals to individuals with developmental disabilities, who also have mental health challenges and substance abuse issues, has a profound influence on their satisfaction with services and support”, (Hewitt, 2007, p1). Direct Support Professionals have the responsibility to recognize that people with a disability may express their emotions and feelings in...
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