This unit discusses working in ways that are agreed with your employer, working in partnership with others and being able to make the distinction between personal and professional relationships.
The unit content is the same for both Level 2 Diploma in Care and Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care.
- Understand working relationships in care settings
- Be able to work in ways that are agreed with the employer
- Be able to reduce barriers to communication
A working relationship is the formal relationship you have with others as part of your job role. This type of relationship is professional only.
A personal relationship is an informal relationship that exists outside of the work environment. This can include your friends, family and relations.
The main differences between a working relationship and a personal relationship are shown in the table below:
|Working relationship||Personal Relationship|
|Regulated by legislation, agreed ways of working, code of conduct etc.||Unregulated|
|Limited to working hours and only for as long as the individual requires care||Unlimited timescales|
|Limited to locations where the individual requires care||Unlimited locations|
|Professional knows more about the client than the client knows about the professional||Usually equal familiarity|
|Professional is responsible for establishing and maintaining boundaries||Equal responsibility for establishing and maintaining boundaries|
|Non-intimate||Can be intimate|
Your employer will usually have a policy that forbids people that have a personal relationship from working together in a professional. This is because it could lead to a conflict of interest.
For example, although siblings and other family members may be employed by the same company, they may be required to work in different teams. Or if an individual that receives care is related to a carer, they may not be allowed to receive their care from that particular person.
In care settings, there are many different types of working relationships.
- The relationship between care workers
- The relationship between care workers and their managers
- The relationship between employees and employers
- The relationship between care employees and the individuals they support
- The relationship between care employees and the family/friends of the individuals they support
- The relationship between care employees and other professionals or the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) – this can include GP’s, nurses, social workers, speech and language therapists etc.
When you started your job as a care worker, you would have been provided with a job description that explains the agreed scope of your job role.
It is important to adhere to the scope of your job role because this is your contractual obligation to your employer and sets the boundaries of your duties and responsibilities.
By understanding what is expected of you, you will be able to perform your role as effectively as possible and know when aspects of your work should be referred to other people who may have more experience of expertise.
Your employer should provide you with full and up-to-date details of your agreed ways of working. If you do not know where they are kept or how to access them, you should ask your manager.
Agreed ways of working can include policies, procedures, care plans and job descriptions.
You may have been provided with paper-based or digital copies of them. Some organisations produce a bound Employee Handbook, however these days most agreed ways of working are electronic. You may be able to access them using computers connected to your organisation’s network or have a username and login to access them online.
There are several ways that you can demonstrate that you are working in line with agreed ways of working:
- Following the medication administration procedure whilst giving an individual their medication
- Ensuring that you are in a private location and cannot be overheard whilst discussing the personal information of an individual
- Ensuring you report or resolve any hazards that may put yourself or others at risk
- Disposing of clinical waste correctly
- Communicating with an individual in a way that meets their needs, wishes and preferences
2.4 Contribute to quality assurance processes to promote positive experiences for individuals receiving care
Quality Assurance (QA) is the systematic process of determining whether a service meets certain requirements. QA processes in the care sector are used to ensure and promote positive experiences for individuals receiving care.
You can contribute to your organisation’s QA processes by:
- Ensuring all records are completed accurately and legibly
- Ensuring all individuals receiving care know how to make a complaint
- Reporting any mistakes immediately
- Following agreed ways of working
- Work in partnership with QA colleagues
Because QA is based on data and statistics, it is dependent on frontline staff like yourself following the processes that are in place and providing accurate and complete information.
Working in partnership is essential to role as a care worker because there will always be too much for one person to do alone.
So it is essential that you are able to work as a team with others to achieve the best outcomes for the individuals that you care for.
There will also be people that have particular experience and expertise that you yourself do not have, so you will have to rely on their skills and knowledge. For example:
- An Occupational Therapist may have ideas that can help an individual improve their cooking skills that you may not have thought of yourself
- Your manager will be able to deal with things or offer guidance if you are ever unsure of what you should do
- A co-worker that has a background in IT may be able to help fix an individual’s computer
- An independent advocate will ensure that an individual’s voice is heard without any conflicts of interest
Partnership working can be improved in several ways.
Effective communication is very important as it is essential that partners understand one another.
You should also all have a mutual respect for one another, even if you disagree. This means giving everyone an opportunity to give their input, listening to it and valuing what they say. Similarly, everyone should be open, honest and transparent so that trust can be developed.
You should not lose sight of your primary goal, which should be to achieve the best outcomes for the individual.
Finally, you should keep accurate records to ensure that all stakeholders are kept up to date.
When multiple partners are working together towards a shared goal, there will inevitably be disagreements and conflicts.
These can be useful as a learning tool but should be resolved as quickly as possible because issues can become more difficult to manage the longer they are left unresolved.
Communication is key to resolving conflicts as well as negotiation and compromise. Sometimes, there will be no resolution that will satisfy all parties so a balance should be made.
It is useful to have a procedure in place beforehand specifying how you will deal with disagreements. This could perhaps have a named person that will make the final decision or it could be put up for a vote.
Sometimes it may be necessary to have an independent mediator to help resolve issues.
Sometimes, you may need additional advice and support about partnership working and resolving conflicts.
The best source of support will usually be your manager but you can also get help from other co-workers that may have more experience or expertise.
Your organisation may also have other resources available to help resolve any issues.