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How to Work Within the ‘Circle of Care’ during Personal Support Worker College

How to Work Within the ‘Circle of Care’ during Personal Support Worker College

How to Work Within the ‘Circle of Care’ during Personal Support Worker College

From the family doctor to medical consultants, nurses, and personal support workers (PSWs), providing the public with healthcare services is typically a team effort, which is why many healthcare providers often work within an area known as the ‘Circle of Care’.

The Circle of Care is a client-centred model that aims to improve coordination of services among all the members of their healthcare team. By communicating on a more frequent basis, healthcare professionals can better determine the methods and treatments they should use to improve their client’s quality of life, which helps them provide more efficient, effective continuing care. There are certain things, however, that PSWs should be aware of when operating within the Circle of Care.

If you want to start your healthcare career, read on to find out what you should know.

Ensuring Confidentiality in the ‘Circle of Care’ is Important to PSW Careers

In order for healthcare providers to become more involved in the ongoing care of their clients, they may often have to share medical information among different members within the Circle of Care.

If, for example, an elderly client experiences a problem with disorientation, they might share this with their assigned PSW, who might accompany them to see their physician. This physician may consult a neurologist or geriatrician for their thoughts and opinions on the proper treatment. They may then share some of their client’s personal medical information as it relates to their overall state of health. While this allows other healthcare providers to have more contextual knowledge, and helps them better manage medical treatment and solutions, it also puts the client’s privacy at risk.

Protecting a client’s health information is an important part of providing quality care

Protecting a client’s health information is an important part of providing quality care

Due to this sharing of personal information, confidentiality is vitally important to maintaining a working, trustworthy Circle of Care. The Circle of Care only concerns those who are directly involved in the decisions and treatment of an individual person—this means that family members, friends, or close associates should not be consulted when sharing private medical information.

Graduates of personal support worker college have the opportunity to work in a variety of medical settings, but no matter the workplace, they must always strive to maintain confidentiality and protect clients’ sensitive medical information. PSWs should remember that their client has a right to privacy—especially with their personal health—and confidentiality helps maintain trust between themselves, their clients, and the other professionals within the Circle of Care.

Understanding the Role of Implied and Express Consent in the Circle of Care

Trust has a significant influence in the relationship between a PSW and their client. Medical information is a very personal subject, and whenever a PSW shares it with someone within the Circle of Care, they should make sure that their client is informed and approves their decision. Understanding consent is an important factor in PSW careers when it comes to deciding what information you can share, and with whom.

Implied consent is the general admission of a client to share their information within a healthcare context through their own words or behaviour. A client implies consent, for example, when volunteering their medical history or rolling up their sleeve to have blood drawn. Typically, healthcare professionals such as PSWs should not rely on only implied consent when sharing intimate medical information with others in the Circle of Care but should instead seek their client’s express consent first.

Express consent is the verbal or written consent of the individual being treated, as it relates to their treatment. This form of consent can be as simple as a personal support worker asking their client if they understand the task they are about to perform. For example, if you are preparing to help them stand or sit down, you may ask “Are you ready?” and wait to receive a “Yes” or “No” answer before continuing. Express consent from your client is also required to share their medical information with other people outside the Circle of Care such as family or friends.

SE Career College of Health graduates know that consent matters in their relationship with their client

SE Career College of Health graduates know that consent matters in their relationship with their client

Are you interested in taking the next step towards your new career in healthcare?

Contact SE Career College of Health for more information about our PSW training.