What is ‘Duty of Care’ in Aged Care?

Living in an aged care facility has benefits, including 24/7 health care, assistance around the home, and living among like-minded companions. However, mistreatment at the hands of staff members or fellow residents can occur if steps aren’t taken to manage risk.

Heritage Care has created a home built on compassion, involvement, and acceptance, and it’s a policy that we, the Australian Government, and many other quality aged care facilities around the nation are implementing and supporting.

If you’re thinking of joining an aged care facility, you’ll need to understand your carer’s and provider’s Duty of Care. Let’s discuss this in further detail.

Contact Heritage Care if you’d like to speak to a health care professional about this matter directly.

What is a Duty of Care?

A duty of care in aged care is the legal obligation on an individual or organisation to act in the best interests of residents. Duty of care laws are designed to protect all Australians, especially those who may be disadvantaged or receiving medical treatment and/or service.

To ensure that your loved one is well cared for, we provide the following services:

Detailed care plans – Our aged care plans outline the care you need, including information about your health conditions, medications and daily activities.

Care workers must follow the detailed care plans – Providers must do what they say they’ll do. Care workers will be given copies of your individualised plan so they know exactly what is expected of them.

Educated and Experienced Staff – We want to ensure that you or your loved one receives the best care, so all our staff are constantly training and updating their skills.

Compassionate Care – Every team member has undergone thorough pre-employment checks and qualifications, including police checks for working with vulnerable people.

Continuity of Staff – We ensure all staff members are briefed and notified of any changes that may affect you to maintain consistency of care.

24-hour Medical Care – We have a registered nurse available 24-hours a day for emergencies or sudden illnesses.

Stimulating Activities that challenge and inspire, motivating Residents to learn and interact, essentially building or maintaining their quality of life.

Every person employed by the aged care provider has a responsibility to act in a certain way towards residents. It’s essential that all those involved in the provision of aged care understand their role and the duty of care to residents.

A Breach of Duty of Care

A carer or aged care facility can breach a duty of care by exposing a Resident to risk, and failing to protect them from harm without breaching their dignity of risk.

Neglecting patients is the most common duty of care breach in aged care facilities. Neglect may involve failing to provide appropriate medical treatment, food, water, or physical help (such as toileting). It also includes failing to monitor a patient’s health adequately.

Examples of Breaching the Duty of Care

A failure to provide the correct equipment, staff training, or aged care plans may be seen as neglect. A breach of duty of care may also include an aged care facility’s failure to adequately supervise patients’ interactions with others.

How Well Are We Caring for Our Loved Ones?

It’s of vital importance that aged care facilities operate safe and respectful environments. If you’re of the opinion that your loved one is being mistreated in their aged care facility, report it to ‘My Aged Care’ immediately.

The Rights and Entitlements as a Resident

  1. Safe and high-quality care and services;
  2. Be treated with dignity and respect;
  3. Have your identity, culture and diversity valued and supported;
  4. Live without abuse and neglect;
  5. Be informed about your care and services in a way you understand.
  6. Access all personal information, including information about rights, care and services.
  7. Have control over and make choices about your care, personal and social life, including where the choices involve personal risk.
  8. Have control over, and make decisions about the personal aspects of your daily life, financial affairs, and possessions.
  9. Independence.
  10. Be listened to and understood.
  11. Have a person of your choice, including an aged care advocate, support you or speak on your behalf if specified.
  12. Complaining, free from reprisal, and have your complaints dealt with fairly and promptly.
  13. Personal privacy and to have your personal information protected.
  14. Exercise your rights without it adversely affecting the way you are treated.

What is the Dignity of Risk?

The dignity of risk refers to a person’s dignity or right to retain dignity through choice while being encouraged to take risks.

The dignity of risk is a concept that can be applied to all aspects of a patient’s life, including personal, social and spiritual needs. It recognises the need for physical and psychological challenges for an individual to grow and learn.

At Heritage Care, we allow residents to live with achievable independence, making their own decision even if it means they are at risk of failing.

Let’s look at some examples of the dignity of risk:

  • Residents are encouraged to stay active and get involved in our programs and services. Still, if sitting on the couch and enjoying their favourite tv show is their cup of tea, it would be compromising the dignity of risk to disapprove.
  • Residents can decorate their room as they please, even with dark purple walls if they so desire. If a resident doesn’t exercise choice but is forced to have eggshell coloured walls, this would be compromising the dignity of risk.

The dignity of risk is about giving residents the opportunity to make their own decision, even when it personally affects them. That’s what dignity is all about.

About Heritage Care

Heritage Care is a respected and well-known name in the care industry, providing quality nursing care for seniors. Our team of dedicated caregivers offer compassionate and understanding health services to ensure that each person who enters their facilities receives the best of treatment and feels understood. For more information on how we can assist you or your loved one with long term care needs, contact us today to schedule an appointment! Contact Heritage Care.