When you’re caring for people in their own homes, it’s not just the service user’s personal rights that need to be considered – the same level of respect should be used when it comes to their home, too.
Your employees reflect your business’ professionalism, so it’s really important that they’re all following an agreed code of conduct to ensure your service users and their homes are cared for in the way your organisation intends. But what should you include in your service’s code of conduct?
To start with, you’ll want to clearly express your service’s morals and beliefs, and these are the rights your service users are entitled to, like privacy, dignity, independence and control over what happens in their home.
To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve listed several areas we’d suggest you include to promote a clear code of how your employees should conduct themselves. While some points might seem obvious, if it’s not written down, you may struggle to enforce it – so it’s better to have it and not need it, than the alternative.
- Carers should not smoke in service users’ homes.
- Workers must not be intoxicated or consume alcohol while on duty.
- Carers can’t take another person into a service user’s home. If they feel the circumstances are exceptional, they’ll need to get written permission from their manager to do so.
- Carers shouldn’t be in the home of the service user without them, or their representative, being present, unless written permission is given (this time by the service user).
Dress and infection control:
- Carers should dress smartly and appropriately for the visit – a uniform helps.
- Personal hygiene should be satisfactory.
- Disposable gloves and aprons should be worn for personal care work.
- Workers should carry ID cards and show them before entering a service user’s home.
- The service user has the right to refuse entry if an ID card can’t be shown and, if this is the case, disciplinary action can be taken.
- Your service should have a separate confidentiality policy for all workers to follow at all times as part of the code of conduct.
- All workers and service users must be treated equally, regardless of their race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, marital status, sexuality or disability.
- Workers are expected to stick to the appointment times and duration as per their rota.
- Employees shouldn’t accept gifts of any kind from service users. If you think there should be an exception to this rule, the situation should be discussed and written permission from your organisation can be given if the gift and situation are deemed appropriate.
- Carers and service users must not buy or sell items from each other, nor should carers arrange a sale of an item on behalf of a service user to anyone they know. The same principle applies for borrowing property (including cars, garden equipment and computers).
- Money shouldn’t be borrowed or lent between carers and service users.
- You’ll need a full medication policy which can be alluded to in your code of conduct
- Carers must never agree to being involved in a service user’s will, whether that be as a signatory, beneficiary or executor.
- Written approval must be given by your organisation if a worker’s required to act in any official capacity for a service user.
- There may be certain financial transactions which need to be carried out by a carer as part of a service user’s care plan, however, no transactions should be undertaken other than those that are specified.
- It is, of course, important that there’s a good rapport between carers and service users, but it’s equally important that there are boundaries too. To set these, emotional and physical familiarity should be avoided.
- If any worker finds themselves personally involved with a service user, the code of conduct should state that they must report it to the organisation straight away. You’ll then need to discuss the situation with the service user, their representative and the worker, in detail, before taking appropriate action based on the circumstances.
Off duty behaviour:
- Your confidentiality policy must be followed at all times – this includes talking about service users with other colleagues in public places where they could be overheard.
- Unless you’ve given them written permission, workers must not visit service users outside of working duties.
- Paperwork must be stored securely and out of sight. This is especially important when paperwork has been taken home by a worker.
Your service’s code of conduct will differ based on a number of things, but the above has hopefully given you a good idea of what you might want to include. And remember, you should provide your employees with a copy of the Skills for Care Code of Conduct, too.