204Introduction to duty of care in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings

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Learning outcomes

There are three learning outcomes to this unit. The learner will:

1. Understand how duty of care contributes to safe practice

2. Know how to address conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

3. Know how to respond to complaints

Duty of care is the obligation to exercise a level of care towards an individual, as is reasonable in all the circumstances, to avoid injury to that individual or his property.
The duty of care is therefore based on: the relationship of the different parties the negligent act or omission and to be able to reasonably foresee loss to that individual.
A negligent act is an unintentional but careless act which results in loss. Only a negligent act will be regarded as having breached a duty of care.
Whether an act is negligent can only be considered in context. In a social care context a duty of care will usually exist where the social care worker has some professional or work responsibility for delivering a service to an individual.
A breach would arise where a negligent act, or omission to act, resulted in harm to that individual and the harm was foreseeable.
Where does a duty of care exist?
1. Where there is a relationship between two parties, especially when there is a relationship of trust e.g between carer and the individual cared for.
2. Where the consequences of the actions could have been reasonably foreseen.
Breach of the duty of care is concerned with the standard of care that should have been applied in the situation. If the standards were not reached then there has been negligence in the duty of care.
To avoid breaching the duty of care: be aware of where the duty of care exists be aware of where there is a risk that damage or loss may be caused to individuals

Vicarious liability: links to duty of care.
Vicarious liability means that the employer is accountable for the standard of care delivered and

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