Social Work Reflection: Experiences and Legislation
Reflection on personal experience in practice, relating to the legislation and standards applicable in my workplace and how legislation impacts on the communication process.
During this report I will draw on the information which I spoke about during my presentation. I will reflect on my personal experiences in practice, relating to legislation and standards that are applicable to my setting and research how legislation impacts on the communication process. I will draw upon my organisations practices, policies and procedures which facilitate effective communication and will identify any barriers which exist. The organisation that I work for are called First City Nursing Services and I will refer to them throughout my report, I have received confirmation that this is ok to do so.
Communication is a great deal more than just speaking verbally to another person, it’s all about getting your message and point across via obtaining information, giving information, sharing ideas, opinions and views and it is important to have good communication between service users and the service providers which assists in building a good rapport. There are four types of communication which include verbal, non-verbal, written and assisted communication for example, through use of computers etc. (buzzle.com, 2010)
As a domiciliary care worker I care for numerous service users with a variety of different care needs. Occasionally issues will arise if the member of staff who entered the individual’s house before myself has failed to fill in the Progress Notes/Medication/Nutrition Charts with all relevant information. This can cause inconsistencies especially where medication is involved as it may become unclear whether or not medication has been given. This may result in medication being missed, as the unrecorded dose cannot be given again in case of an overdose. First City have a very strict policy on recording and reporting and any staff member found not recording relevant information will be called in for a meeting and may face disciplinary action. (First City Handbook, 2015)
Health and social care is strongly influenced by different cultures, beliefs and values but it is also influenced by the guidance which is provided by legislations, charters, and codes of practice. Organisations like First City Nursing follow the guidance within these documents as it ensures that they are within the law in their practice.
A way in which legislations, charters and codes of practice influence the communication process is demonstrated by the fact that they allow the provision of equality. The current laws which guide the practice of health and social care are based on the principle of equality which does not allow discrimination of any individual, this includes staff, service users and anyone else involved in the service. (Equality Act, 2010)
For example, legislations such as those which provide fair employment, sex discrimination acts, racial discrimination etc. are some of the laws which have an influence in practice. These laws create a framework of the behaviour of the healthcare professional and form the basis of how they act and how they communicate. For example: the correct way of behaving to stay within the law is implemented into the policies and procedures and job description. The consequences of going against legislations will be a critical factor in the observance of a good communication practice (Cambridge Training & Development, 2000).
The Data Protection Act 1984 provides a good example of legislations in communication. This act provides protection to information which is confidential and should only be used when nescarry and for reasons known by the indivudals involved. Service users could lose trust from the service providers if confidential information is given out, making it important for laws to provide protection for this. Certain legislations are also made available to provide equality and anti-discrimination in the workplace. These factors are highly influential in shaping the communication practice and activities of people in health and social care (Moonie, 2005).
The code of practice is also highly influential in communication practices especially in consideration of the fact that they can affect confidentiality and privacy of information. For instance, the use and access to the internet for health and social workers are often limited and defined by codes of conduct, depending upon the institution, to be assured of good communication practices and work ethics. An example of this may be service providers using Facebook or other social networking sites and breaching confidentiality of a service user or of the service itself. First City Nursing have a very strict policy relating to this and suggest that no photos are taken when in uniform, no information regarding work or work locations is shared and any staff member in breach of this could face disciplinary action
The Data Protection Act provides restrictions and limitations on the use and access of personal information, especially those of the clients or the patients. Some of this information includes personal information, medical records, treatment history, and credit information. Record keeping is very important and should be adhered to and followed strictly. (Essays, UK. 2013)
Legislation, regulations and codes of practice as looked at within this report as well as in my presentation provides a number of benefits for the health and social care sector. It sets guidelines and standards which assist with meeting the individual needs, ease of administration of procedures, making efficient administrative practices, accurate documentation, and fostering a more dynamic communication practice. (Essays, u.k 2013)
Communication aids also provide assistance in improving practice, accountability, and quality of care. It allows service users and their service providers to communication effectively, enabling a person centred approach to be used by finding out the individuals wants and desires for their own care.
There is a great need for improvement in communication within the health and social care sector but by being able to identify ways by which such could be improved, via reading the written communication and speaking verbally with service users and providers, the health and social care sector can begin to pinpoint ways in which communication is failing and needs to be improved, this can lead to updates of legislation and the organisations policies and procedures.