A complex issue facing aged care facilities and NDIS service providers is the client's privacy and confidentiality. When working closely with (and often advocating for) the elderly, we’re seeing them at their most vulnerable, and are privy to information that they might not want others to know about. To offer the best care possible, and ensure your clients feel comfortable with your services, it’s important you ensure that their privacy and confidentiality is protected to the best of your ability.
The Commonwealth Privacy Act of 1988 and Client Rights
The Commonwealth Privacy Act of 1988 covers the rights of clients regarding health information. The statement indicates that individuals have the right to be informed about how their information will be used, to exercise choices and control over it, to be aware of when and why it is being shared, and to access and rectify it when necessary.
Enabling the above rights can be particularly challenging when working with clients who are temporarily or permanently experiencing impaired capacity, when providing mental health care, or when delivering palliative or end-of-life care. When this occurs, you might need to interact with the client’s family or primary caregiver on how to proceed. In cases when end of life care is being provided, you might need to follow an enduring power of attorney, or legal directive.
Confidentiality and When It Can Be Overridden
Confidentiality can only be breached in situations where adhering to it could result in a violation of the law or cause harm to the client or others. Details regarding relationships, finances, or sexual activity don’t fall into this category.
To ensure that you’re doing all that you can to protect and preserve a patient’s privacy and confidentiality, make sure you seek out consent at all times, and when working with care givers only share information on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Guiding Principles When Breaching Confidentiality
If you’re faced with a situation where you’re considering breaching confidentiality, you should first ask yourself:
- Is the patient objectively at risk?
- Can the risk be verified?
- Could the risk impact negatively on others in your care?
- Is there any way to mitigate the risk by speaking to the patient and supporting them to make their own decision?
Knowing this will help you to navigate most situations on a day to day basis. In terms of empowering the client to take charge of their own health information, our Comm.care solution is a great choice for managing privacy and care.
Comm.care is a comprehensive platform designed to seamlessly streamline care management, invoicing, rostering, and compliance process. Comm.care offers a unified platform for organisations to collaborate with other care institutions and manage care for the elderly, people with disabilities, along with their families and friends.Visit Author