Maintaining Confidentiality

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  • Topic: Health care, Health care provider, Patient
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Maintaining Confidentiality
Course 117
TWO contact hours
By: Monica Oram, RN, BSN
Upon completion of this course the reader will be able to achieve the following objectives:

1. Define confidentiality and related key terms
2. Define the concepts concerning confidentiality
3. Understand what is considered confidential information 4. Understand the outcomes of breach of confidentiality
5. Understand responsibilities as a healthcare worker with private and confidential information. 6. Understand about informed consent
7. Recognize confidentiality related to HIV/AIDS patients

Defining Key Terms

Confidentiality is a term that indicates preserving the privacy of the persons in which you care for. This will mean that all information related to them will be kept in strict confidence for use only by the team of care providers. This includes information gained verbally or from resident or client records. All information is considered confidential when it pertains to medical care and client records.

Breach of confidentiality is sharing information verbally or in written form regarding a resident or client with someone who is not on the care team of the resident or client, or who does not have a release of information form from the resident or client.

Indiscretion is an action in which you inadvertently share confidential information. There is no bad intent associated with an indiscretion.

Informed consent is when a resident or client acknowledges and allows the release of information to other parties. This permission is given by filling out a legal consent form, which becomes part of the resident or clients permanent record.

Private is defined as not available for public viewing or knowledge.

Privileged information is a term that refers to all information shared between an attorney and his client. This information is considered confidential and is not admissible in court.

Scope of practice are the duties and responsibilities of an assigned job as designated by education or law.

The concepts of confidentiality are very much regulated to even a higher degree as the new HIPAA laws have come into full effect this past April 14, 2003. To fully understand HIPAA and the law, refer to course # 106.

Concepts concerning confidentiality

0 Do no harm
1 Be honest
2 Use information proactively
3 Irreversible
4 Threat of self destruction
Do no harm- In regard to gathering, recording and sharing verbal or written information, “do no harm” means that the resident and healthcare provider will have an honest relationship in which sensitive data should be and shall be disclosed at no risk to the resident or client that there will not be a breach in confidential issues. In regard to privacy, “do no harm” means that the resident /client will not be unnecessarily exposed or intentionally embarrassed while physically examined or treated.

Be honest- Deal honestly with residents and families, and also your peers. Don’t be afraid to admit a mistake.

Use information proactively- Information shared will be used for the sole purpose of being accurate in diagnosis, prescribing the best recommended treatment, and providing the best care.

Irreversible- Information once shared cannot be unshared, erased, or deleted. Think about what you are saying before words fall out of your mouth. Threat of self destruction- A claim of confidential or private matters can not be honored if concealment poses a threat to the resident or client. For example, most everything is shared in confidence, but lets say for example a person threatens suicide.. You would not be able to honor privacy as you would have to share this information to prevent a possible threat to harm oneself.

What is considered confidential?

Information and actions that are confidential and private include, but are not limited to the following: 5 Age
6 Sex
7 Race
8 Religion
9 Marital status...
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