Health and Social Care: the Right to Confidentiality

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Confidentiality
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives people the right to confidentiality of personal information. Confidentiality means keeping information given to oneself private and not sharing it with anyone that does not ‘need to know’. In the care setting, providing confidentiality requires confirmation that personal and private information belonging to service users cannot be accessed by others. Any information given by a service user should not be disclosed without the service user’s permission. Personal/private information a care setting will regularly come across can include: * Information being discussed orally, for example in a nursery care setting a care worker discussing/debating with a parent of a child (also a service user) how they should deal with and act upon their child’s behavior issue. * Written information, for example, in a nursery care setting before a service user starts to fully attend the nursery they should be given personal detail sheet to fill in and hand back to the care setting, the nursery should then make sure these are stored safely and securely. * Electronic record, for example, in a nursery care setting service users’ medical history should be stored securely on a computer with only authorized personnel having access. Keeping personal information given by service users confidential is very important in a care setting; this is because confidentiality is an important right of all clients. The following reasons will explain this importance: * Trust: if a service user knew that a certain care worker would not pass on things that they have said, they will be more likely to tell that care worker what they really think and feel. If a service user was to tell a care worker something personal, and then that care worker went on to tell someone else for no apparent reason, merely just to on-go a gossip, if the service user found this out they could potentially feel extremely upset, embarrassed, angry, etc. and there would be loss of trust, and a massive decrease in the likelihood of the service user ever telling that specific care worker anything private ever again. For example in a nursery care setting a service user privately told a care worker that their child, attending the nursery, was not fully potty trained during day. Later on that day, the same care worker that was given the personal information was in the care setting toilet with a fellow colleague supervising the young infants as they washed their hands before dinner. The care worker said to her collegue, in a loud tone, “oh I almost forgot, some will have to check on Joseph (the service user that is not potty trained), he isn’t potty trained and has probably messed his pants by now”, this form of oral communication taking place allowed other service users that were washing their hands to hear, they laughed and later on teased Joseph on the fact he was not fully potty trained unlike the majority of them. At the end of the day when the service user came to collect her child she noticed the other children teasing Joseph about this matter and found herself reacting in a very upset manner. Confidentiality was broken in this scenario and it was not classified as a ‘need to know basis’, therefore the service user was very upset and significantly lost trust for this care worker, which concluded in the service user not wanting a further relationship to build with this individual and the service user not telling the specific care worker anything personal again. * Self esteem: if a care worker was to keep things confidential between themselves and a service user or colleague it would show that they have respect and value the individual and that they believe that what the service user or colleague says matters. Therefore maintaining confidentiality in a care setting will lift levels of self-esteem within individuals more than if private details were to be shared with others. For example in a nursery a service user...
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