1. Policy Statement
Service users have both an ethical and a legal right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality. Woodville Alliance (WA) will recognise and respect each service user’s right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality in all aspects of their life.
Woodville Alliance upholds the rights of service users to privacy, confidentiality and self-determination, and supports service users in exercising these rights in regards to the information communicated to families/carers and staff.
In the course of our work Woodville Alliance we come across information which must be kept confidential at all times. Service user issues may be discussed in a confidential manner in order to provide quality service to service users (e.g. behaviour intervention plans in a staff meeting). Staff issues may be discussed in the context of the impact on service user needs. Service user issues may be disclosed to other individuals outside the organisation with prior consent from the service user, carer and /or an advocate.
This policy affects WA service users, their carers, staff including contract staff and volunteers. It also impacts on our service delivery.
WA – Woodville Alliance
CALD – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
5. Responsibilities & Delegations
Service Managers are responsible for the implementation of this policy.
6. Procedure Details
All service users’ information is recorded, maintained, stored, and made available in ways that respect service users’ rights to privacy, dignity and confidentiality. This includes service user files, incident reports, progress notes, communication books and any other relevant information.
The policies and procedures of Woodville Alliance for protecting service user’s privacy, dignity and confidentiality are made available to service users in plain English.
Service users’ records will be kept in a secure place and will only be available to staff who need access to the information
Information pertaining to service users’ activities may be disclosed to family members based on service user’s signed consent. Where a service user is unable to consent to the release of information, staff may contact his/her carer or legal guardian. For Post School Program service users, this would mean gaining service user’s / carer’s signed consent on commencement or re-commencement of the Program. For Case Management service users, this would mean that service users’ /carer’s signed consent is obtained on commencement into the Case Management Program and this consent is valid until the service user exits the Case Management Program. This Policy is not binding in cases of emergency which includes any situation that poses a serious threat to the life or health of any individual or other legal or legislative requirements.
Each service user has the right to see any information the agency keeps about them.
All staff ensure the physical privacy of service users is protected including doors and locks on bathrooms and toilets. With regards to service users requiring personal care assistance, staff has an obligation to provide personal care in a discreet manner that maintains service user’s privacy and dignity at all times. Management of WA will ensure that relevant staff receive training on providing personal care in an appropriate manner.
Prior to filling in a consent form, it is imperative that staff members explain to the service user why the information is required and who will have access to the information. The service user may need to be provided with additional information to help them make an informed decision. If the service user chooses not to disclose information, this needs to be documented and retained in service user’s file.
Information regarding service users is communicated to the appropriate people external to Woodville Alliance in a professional manner. This information needs to be accurate, objective and free of bias or judgment.
The staff of Woodville Alliance is not allowed to remove service user records from the organisation’s premises, unless it is for the reason of demand e.g. archiving documents or in the event of service user transferring to another service. Should this occur, staff must obtain prior approval from their direct supervisor.
Where an individual service user has a Public Guardian, all information pertinent within that Guardianship Order will be officially communicated to the Guardian.
Service user issues are not discussed by staff with people outside the service without the service user’s consent.
Service user issues are not discussed with staff members other than those who need information to ensure that effective support is provided.
The staff of Woodville Alliance ensures the anonymity of service users, for example, while reporting to the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care for statistical purposes
All recorded information must comply with AS/NZS ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management System Requirements.
Any breach of confidentiality may result in disciplinary action by the Disability Services General Manager
7. Legislation and Standards Compliance
- NSW Disability Service Standards
- Guidelines for Community Participation
- Disability Service Act 1993 (NSW)
- Education Care Services Regulations under the Education and Care Services National Law
- ISO 9001:2008 Standard
- National Quality Standards
- NSW Cares (Recognition) Act 2010 (Including the Carers Charter
- Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
- Health records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)
- Privacy Code of Practice (General) 2003
- Health Records and information Privacy Code of practice 2005 (NSW)