18 January 2018
Boundaries and Support Work – By Interchange Australia Human Resources Manager, Lynne Busby.
Interchange Australia has over 80 support staff who provide services to people with disability and older people, both in a home environment and in the community.
Our staff adhere to a set of ethical guidelines that ensure that their working environment is safe and assists them to provide effective and goal directed services and support. Simply, the guidelines tell everyone what is expected of them in the performance of their work.
The guidelines also ensure that our staff have the adequate training, skills and knowledge or expertise to provide the services that they deliver.
Here is a summary of some of the guidelines our staff follow:
All clients have a right to privacy in their personal information and employees should not seek information that is not relevant or necessary in the performance of their duties. Support Workers also have a right to privacy and these boundaries will often need to be set with clients and their families/carers who may seek personal information or a relationship with the employee.
Confidentiality means that any information obtained or received by employees must be kept absolutely confidential except with the written or verbal consent of the client or their legal guardian. Employees must not disclose or discuss confidential information with anyone without their permission. It is expected that Support Workers will discuss matters with co-workers, peers and supervisors in an appropriate and respectful way.
Duty of Care
Support Workers have a duty of care to anyone who might reasonably be affected by their activities, requiring them to act in a way that does not expose others to an unreasonable risk of harm – physical, psychological or financial.
Support Workers are required to protect an individual from risks of injury or harm that can be foreseen or anticipated. This means they are required to act with a knowledge of the client (particularly about their disability and their living situation) and of their own abilities, knowledge and limitations. Support Workers are both ethically and legally accountable for their actions.
The role of the Support Workers is to build, support and strengthen the existing social, family and community network of a person with a disability. The role of a friend is different from the role of a Support Worker and constitutes a conflict of interest. Similarly, relationships with client’s family members/carer are also not appropriate and risks blurring the boundary of your professional relationship.
For more information about our ethical guidelines, please contact me on 1300 112 334. If you are interested in a career in support work with Interchange Australia, please visit our website: www.interchangeau.org/careers