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Code of Practice and Ethics for Healthcare Assistants



Introduction

A code of practice is a set of written rules and regulations concerning practice, dress and behaviour, to be observed by staff within both the residential workplace and in the community.  The purpose of having a code of practice in a healthcare setting is to maintain high standards of care.

A code of ethics is a set of moral principles held by the healthcare worker which includes upholding the dignity of and respect for the care recipient and a pride in the discipline for which the code is written.  We the Alliance of Health Care Assistants in Ireland (AHCAI) propose the following code of practice and ethics for our members.

Definition

Healthcare Assistants in Ireland provide assistance, support and direct personal care to care recipients in a variety of institutional settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and in community settings, caring for people in their own homes and in specialist units for people with different types of disability.  Healthcare Assistants work in support of registered nurses and other health professionals.

Code of Practice

Dress code

  • In the interest of infection control, freshly laundered uniform/clothes to be worn on duty, uniform should not be worn in the street.
  • No jewellery on duty other than a plain wedding band.
  • A fob-watch rather than a wrist watch to be worn.
  • Tie hair back from the face and keep fingernails short.
  • In the interest of safety wear flat, comfortable, non-slip shoes with enclosed heel.
  • Switch off your personal phone while on duty.

In the Community:

  • Remove outer wear on entering the house
  • Switch phone to silent while attending to care recipients.
  • Wash hands on entering and prior to leaving the house.
  • Wear disposable apron when carrying out tasks.
  • Do not bring healthcare products belonging to or used by care recipients from one house to another.
  • Dispose of healthcare waste as per local policy.

Patients/Service Users

  • Maintain confidentiality regarding all information concerning the care recipients. Report to line manager should there be information which may be detrimental to the care recipients’ health or wellbeing.
  • Care for each care recipient according to their needs, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs, personal attributes, age, social status, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Promote and encourage independence in the care recipient.
  • Speak English in the presence of the care recipient and always include the care recipient in the conversation while carrying out personal tasks.
  • Refuse gifts or favours from care recipients in the interest of maintaining an uncompromised working relationship.
  • If care recipient insists on giving you a gift, document it and inform your line manager so the family can be informed.

The Healthcare Assistant

  • Be on duty on time and pass clear comprehensive information regarding patient care to colleagues coming on duty at the end of your shift.
  • In the community setting document your visit in the care recipients chart ensuring all details are correct.
  • Adhere to local policy regarding staff illness and sick leave.
  • Develop a good, co-operative working relationship with colleagues and managers as a member of the multidisciplinary care team.
  • Work within the scope of practice written in your employment contract.
  • Ensure knowledge and competency in the tasks expected of you in the workplace. Inform your line manager of your lack of knowledge or competence to carry out a task requested of you.
  • Attend continuing professional development (CPD) courses.
  • Take no personal phone calls on duty
  • Take no photos of care recipients without the prior permission of the care recipient and the Director/Manager of services.

Reporting & Record Keeping

  • Report appropriately to your line manager or Senior Nursing Officer anything which does or might compromise your patient’s health, wellbeing or safety.
  • Keep a written note of the report and its follow up.
  • Record accurately in the care recipients’ chart or care plan according to local policy.

 

Code of Ethics

  • Show respect for care recipients and colleagues
  • Respect the uniqueness and dignity of the care recipient.
  • Maintain a high degree of integrity and honesty at all times.
  • Develop a relationship of respect and trust with the care recipient and their family.
  • Be honest and accountable in your practice
  • Put the safety and dignity of the care recipients before loyalty to a colleague should you observe unsafe practice or unacceptable conduct in that colleague.

Sources

The Nursing and Midwifery Board (2014) Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives.  Dublin

CORU  2010, Framework for a Common Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics, Dublin, Health and Social Care Professionals Council,