Home Compliance Autonomy and consent in social care

Autonomy and consent in social care

by Lisa Carr

Autonomy and consent have long been issues in social care. Sam Hussain, Founder and CEO of the care management platform Log my Care, delves into best practice for consent and how technology can help give people the autonomy they need in care.

Too often in care settings we hear the question “Why did no one tell me?” No care provider wants the people they support to feel unheard or uninformed, that’s why autonomy in care is so important to ensure service users are fully involved in their own care.

Why autonomy and consent matters to service users and their families

It matters because it’s their care and they should be at the centre of it. In many care situations, service users and their loved ones may already feel like they’re losing control simply because of the circumstances that led them to seek support. That’s why involving them in decision-making around their care is critical to helping them retain as much autonomy as they can.

Consenting to care means that services users are at the heart of the plans put in place to support them. Care providers should give their clients all the information they need to make confident and competent decisions.

A record of signed consent informs families and friends that their loved one is receiving the high-quality care they deserve. Moving a relative to a care home can be a difficult time for families, but knowing that their family member still has autonomy and is fully informed about the care they are receiving, can help with that transition.

Why consent matters to care providers

Obtaining consent is best practice for care delivery. It keeps services users and their families involved, minimises the risk to the care provider and improves quality of care. Establishing consent shows service users that they are at the heart of care delivery and that they are respected as individuals.

Reduce risk

As with most things in life, there’s an element of risk with every care measure or treatment. When giving consent, a service user accepts those risks. On the other hand, when withholding consent, they agree to the risks of not getting the care or treatment suggested.

For care providers, having a signed record of this consent or withholding of consent can be invaluable, should those risks become reality. Not getting consent right can lead to complaints, criminal liability, liability for damages, disciplinary action and more. However, consent obtained correctly can protect those providing care.

Improve care quality and be person-centred

Delivering high-quality, person-centred care means involving clients in decision-making processes whenever possible. They know their own preferences and needs better than anyone else. This is an opportunity to initiate discussions with service users and their loved ones about the care that might benefit them, and help develop care plans that really suit them.

Legal requirement

As well as being beneficial for care providers, their staff and service users, having a record of consent is a legal requirement that regulatory bodies, like the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or the Care Inspectorate, check diligently, and will affect how they evaluate a care service as a whole.

How Log my Care can support you to manage consent

Log my Care’s consent management feature allows care providers to easily manage their clients’ individual consent records electronically. Service users or their Legal Power of Attorney can digitally sign consent and lack of capacity forms directly on the platform and reminders can be scheduled to review these records with the client at a later, pre-defined time.


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