Understand How to Handle Information in Social Care Settings

Data Protection Act 1998 (amended in 2003) – The Data Protection Act 1998 (amended in 2003) is a UK law that was set up to protect people’s personal information and who the information was shared with. The act also enables people to make sure that their information is being handled correctly. The 1998 Act replaced and consolidated earlier legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1984 and the Access to Personal Files Act 1987. The Data Protection Act 1998 (amended in 2003) is a legal obligation to everyone who holds information about a person.
Non-compliance with the Data Protection Act is a criminal offense. Examples of people who hold information who would have to comply with the Data Protection Act 1987 (amended in 2003) is you’re GP, NHS, Private Companies etc. If you’re GP was to disclose information about you to your mother or father without your consent this would be going against the Data Protection act which could lead to the GP being prosecuted for committing a criminal offense and being non-compliant.
Freedom of information act 2000- This act was created to allow members of the public to access information held about them by different public bodies. For example if the NHS holds information about you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 you have a right to know what this information is and who it is available to. There are three ways to find out information under this act.

You can request this information electronically by sending an email to them from their website or using the contact us section.
You can write to the department with a request form or a letter requesting access to the information.
You can fax the department to request the information.

There may be a charge for the information and you can find details of costs by looking on the public bodies’ website, calling them or writing to them. The Health and social Care Act- also has guidelines and legislations on how to handle people information correctly.
Care Quality Commission’s Guidance about “Essential Standards of Quality and Safety Outcome 21”- Provides you with information on how to handle people information and comply with legislation and laws. The General Social Care Council can also give you information and guidelines on their website about handling people information You can also find out how to handle information by looking at your company policies and procedures manual, looking in your own code of conduct and requesting information from your line manager about how to do this effectively.
Q 1. 2 Explain how legal requirements and codes of practice inform practice in handling information?
A 1. 2 Legal requirements and codes of practice are guidelines, policies and procedures that everyone has to adhere to in their day to day activities when handling information.
The guidelines protect you from committing criminal offenses where it is a legal requirement or from facing dismissal when it is a company’s policy or procedure. Legal requirements give you guidance and support when storing and handling personal and confidential information about an individual, it will enable you to store information correctly and safely.
Q 2.1 Explain how to maintain records that are up to date, complete, accurate and legible?
A 2. 1 A good way of maintaining records is on a computer or in a file that can be kept confidential and kept up to date.
Records should be updated each time the individual is seen, either at home or in a clinical setting. Records must always be factual and not an opinion, they must be accurate and legible for others to be able to read. When recording information you must date time and sign the documents in some cases the service user may need to sign them as well.
There are many thing that you need to update in the records these include: Date and time of arrival or visit what happened what tasks were completed i. e. washed, dressed, fed, medication Outcome of visit and any requests from the service user. For example if you go and visit a service user and you have gave them breakfast and medication for the day you must state this in the records as the next visitor may give the client breakfast and medication again which could overdose the service user.
Q 2. 2 Describe practices that ensure security when storing and accessing information?
A 2. 2 There are many different ways to ensure security when storing and accessing information: Passwords on computers enable unauthorised people from accessing records as well as emails Keeping records locked away in a filing cabinet/cupboard with a key that only someone who is authorised to open it has the key. Not leaving notes lying around to be seen by anyone Make sure that handovers are done in a room where no one can hear Making sure conversations with service users are in private and not breeching confidentiality.
Not discussing information with people on the telephone or if you do doing this in private so no one else can hear. Making sure files are returned to the filing cabinets when not in use.
Q 2. 3 Describe features of manual and electronic information storage systems that help ensure security?
A 2. 3 It is important to keep all clients information in a secure location (i. e. filing cabinet for paper based records etc. ) if any records are taken out of the secure location to be used in updating or retrieving information from they are to be kept away from unauthorised users.
For example if you visit a service user in the morning but no longer need their records it should be put in the secure location out of reach of others who are not authorised to use this. Electronic records are to only be accessed by a password which will stop unauthorised people accessing the records. Electronic systems will also record who, when and what time the records have been accessed and what the person was doing when accessing the information. For example is Joe blogs record needed updating to say he was on a new medication.
You would log into the computer and put a password into the files to allow you access the computer system would record who you are and what time you accessed the file and what you did with the file. (I. e. amended information, updated records etc. ) Always making sure there is a backup of document paper documents should be photocopied and stored in a filing cabinet that is labelled. Electronic records should be backed up either on a USB stick or a server to make sure records are not lost.
Q 3. 1 Explain how to support others to understand the need for secure handling of information?
A 3. 1 Ways to support others and making them understand the need for secure handling of information is by following policies and procedures yourself which shows good practice. Showing people policies legislation and procedures about handling information and monitoring the way they handle peoples information and offering them guidance and advice on how to handle peoples information in the most secure way meeting the legislation that is in place, advise them to read the data protection act and the companies code of conduct.
We all have a duty to follow the procedures and legislation for handling information. If someone does not know how to do this you can show them how to do so, as well as showing them how to update information where required.
Q 3. 2 Explain how to support others to understand and contribute to records?
A 3. 2 You can support other by raising their awareness of the consequences of not updating records, making them legible and not following policies and procedures in compliance with data protection. Make sure that you colleagues know where to keep secure files and how to store them. (I. e. alphabetically. )

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