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					Section: 4 Policy no: GC34

Policy Title: Gender, Privacy and Dignity

Author: David Robinson, Assistant Director of Nursing

Summary: The policy covers the arrangements that must be made in inpatient facilities to ensure that the environment and the care provided is gender appropriate. The policy also outlines the principles that staff must adhere to in order to ensure that service users are treated with dignity and accorded an appropriate degree of privacy

Enquiries to: David Robinson 01582 707523

Issue date: June 2006

Review date: November 2010

Contents 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Introduction Definition Gender appropriate services Service user access Service user empowerment Information provision Privacy

References

Gender, Privacy and Dignity Policy

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GENDER, PRIVACY AND DIGNITY POLICY 1. 1.1 Introduction The purpose of this policy is to ensure that service users benefit from care that is focussed upon respect for the privacy and dignity of individual service users. The policy lays out clear standards that must inform staff practice, service development and the management of the inpatient environment. The government has launched a series of initiatives in the health service in order to reinforce the necessity of basing care delivery around the needs and wishes of the service user rather than the convenience of healthcare staff:   The National Plan (2000) directed healthcare organisations to improve the service user experience by ensuring that the basics of care received due attention The Department of Health paper Safety, Privacy and Dignity in mental health units: guidance on mixed sex accommodation for mental health services (2000) provided mental health services with guidance on the provision of gender appropriate inpatient services. Essence of Care (2001) introduced service user focussed benchmarks in order to assist managers and staff to compare practice. The central themes of Privacy and Dignity provide material for one of the benchmarks. Patient Environment Action Teams (2001) were established to undertake reviews of hospitals in order to ensure that the inpatient environment and the hospital routines related to cleanliness, hygiene and nutrition, were of the highest standard. Privacy and Dignity are key components of the reviews. The Revised Mental Health Act Code of Practice (2008) in regard to gender and privacy.

1.2

 



2. 2.1

Definition Privacy is defined as freedom from intrusion. Staff must ensure that their interactions with service users and carers never constitute unwarranted intrusion into the lives of service users and carers, and that the ward environment and the ward routines are so designed that service users are protected from unwarranted intrusion. Dignity is defined as the quality of being worthy or honourable. Staff must ensure that all their interactions with service users and carers demonstrate the respect that is due to those for whom the service exists.

2.2

3. 3.1

Gender appropriate services The inpatient environment
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Gender, Privacy and Dignity Policy

Paragraph 16.9 of the revised Mental Health Act Code of Practice States:     There must be separate sleeping areas for each gender There must be separate toilet and washing facilities Patients must not need to walk through sleeping areas of the other gender to access toilets / washing facilities Each gender must have separate living rooms.

3.1.1 All toilet and washing facilities within inpatient units are single sex and clearly designated as such. 3.1.2 Sleeping areas are segregated and must have direct access to toilet and washing facilities. 3.1.3 If in an emergency it becomes necessary to treat a patient in an environment that is designated for the opposite gender senior management must be informed as soon as possible. 3.1.4 Trust units all have designated areas, where this is not possible or not implemented the unit must have permission from the board and have a written policy and protocol detailing why there is diversion from the code and the measures that have been implemented to ensure that privacy and dignity are being observed and considered. 3.1.5 Where transgender patients are admitted to an inpatient area consideration should be given to the particular needs and detailed in the care planning process. A copy of this care plan should be sent to the mental health act office for compliance purposes.

3.2

Care co-ordination

3.2.1 Service users must be given the option of having a care co-ordinator who is of the same gender as themselves 3.3 Searches and control and restraint

3.3.1 Whenever a service user is subject to control and restraint, there should be wherever possible someone of the same gender in the control and restraint team. Wherever possible the Lead in the team should be of the same gender as the service user. 3.3.2 Whenever searches are carried out on inpatient units (either of property or clothing) the member of staff carrying out the search must be of the same gender as the service user. 3.4 Physical examination

3.4.1 Where physical medical examination is required, the staff member allocated to carry out the task should be of the same gender as the patient. If this is not possible then the situation should be explained to the patient. If the service
Gender, Privacy and Dignity Policy Page 3 of 5

user agrees to be examined by a member of staff who is not of the same gender, then a member of staff who is of the same gender must observe. 3.5 Intimate care

3.5.1 Intimate care such as washing, dressing, assisting with the toilet, managing continence (including providing catheter care) and the administration of suppositories should normally be provided by a member of the same gender. When this is not possible members of staff must consider the consequences of the service user not receiving care, the urgency of the care needed and the preference of the service user, in deciding whether to proceed with the care. 3.6 Shift teams

3.6.1 Unit managers must ensure that there are members of both genders on every shift. 3.6.2 Female service users must have access to female members of staff. 3.6.3 Wherever possible members of staff of the same gender as the service user should be available for escort duties.

4. 4.1

Service user access All service users on inpatient units will have 24 hour access to tea, coffee and snack making facilities All service users on inpatient units must be able to make and receive private phone calls. NB. The Nurse in Charge has the authority to withdraw this right where it is being misused (eg inappropriately ringing emergency services) Staff must assist service users to access resources to meet their religious needs. Staff must take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that service users’ dietary preferences are met.

4.2

4.3

4.4

5. 5.1

Service user empowerment Service users’ cultural preferences must be identified and, wherever possible, responded to. Staff must identify how service users wish to be addressed, and then ensure that all team members are aware of service users’ preferences. Service users must always be involved in the drawing up of their care plan, and in the evaluation of the care given. Service users must have access to Advocacy services. Service Users must be given the opportunity to compose an Advanced Statement.
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5.2

5.3

5.4 5.5

Gender, Privacy and Dignity Policy

6. 6.1

Information provision On every admission (or transfer) staff must provide an explanation to the service user about the purpose of the admission in a format that is appropriate to the individual concerned. On every admission (or transfer) staff must provide an explanation (in both verbal and written forms) about the physical lay out of the unit, the unit routines and the roles of the different members of the multi-disciplinary team On every admission (or transfer) information on visiting times is to be given to both service users and their relatives. Agreed visiting times are to be clearly displayed on each unit. Staff must provide service users with information both verbally and in written form on the nature, course and treatment of their condition (including information about possible side effects)

6.2

6.3

6.4

7. 7.1

Privacy Staff must not impart confidential information about service users in situations where they can be overheard by people who are not members of the healthcare team Staff must ensure that they relay sensitive or distressing information to service users and relatives in a private area. Wherever possible staff must request permission before entering a service user’s room. NB. The Trust’s Observation policy states that the whereabouts and well being of every service user in an inpatient unit must be checked every two hours Staff must ensure that service users are suitably covered at all times. Consistent with effective risk management, staff must ensure that service users are cared for in an environment and in a manner that maximises the opportunity for service user privacy. References DH (2000) National Plan DH (2000) Safety, Privacy and Dignity in mental health Units: Guidance on mixed sex accommodation for mental health services DH (2001) Essence of Care DH (2008) Mental Health Act Code of Practice

7.2

7.3

7.4 7.5

8.

Gender, Privacy and Dignity Policy

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