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Social Care Work

Procedures relating to the safety and security of the clients in terms of meeting their needs

The provision of care services to service users in nursing homes, hospitals, own homes, or residential care facilities should be done legislative requirements of occupational health and safety in Ireland. According to Health and Safety Authority (2017 p.2), the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places the responsibility of managing workplace safety and health to the employer for prevention of ill health and injuries at the workplace. In fulfilling this mandate, the employer conducts initial review of the processes established to ensure health and safety, identifies standards to be attained, develops the methods to achieve those standards, and conducts monitoring and evaluation of the performance (Health and Safety Authority, 2017 p.2). A written safety statement that is based on hazards identification and risk assessment offers a good guide for health and social care providers in applying appropriate safety and health procedures in their practice.


Handwashing is one of the primary infection control measure for preventing and controlling the transmission of infectious pathogens, and it is included in all types of isolation precautions (Zimmerman et al., 2020 p.121). Generally, in preventing the spread of germs, people are advised to vigorously scrub their hands with warm, soapy water for a minimum of 15 seconds. Antimicrobial-agent-containing soaps are commonly utilized in high-risk locations including nurseries and emergency rooms. People should wash their hands between client contacts, after reporting at work, after removing gloves, before leaving work, before eating, when hands are visibly soiled, after defecation or urination, after touching body fluids, after coming into contact with contaminated equipment, and when preparing to perform invasive procedures and after the process.


The type of baths that is provided will be determined by the bath’s purpose and the service user’s ability to self-care (Edemekong et al., 2017 p.33). Baths are divided into two categories: cleaning and restorative. Clients are given cleaning baths on a regular basis. Shower, tub, assisted bed bath or self-help, total bed bath, and partial bath are the five forms of cleaning baths. Bed bath can be used to offer hygienic care to patients who are bedridden. During a full bed bath, care workers clean the service user’s entire body. Health and social care workers should:

  • Determine the level of assistance required in helping the client take a bath. Verify if the patient can follow directives. Examine the parts of their body that they may want help cleaning.
  • Determine if the service user is comfortable with the procedure. Look into any generational, sexual, or cultural issues oncerns that may exist. Assess whether the service user is apprehensive, nervous, or anxious about having another person clean him or her.
  • Examine the surroundings. Verify if the equipment you’ll need is accessible. Check to see whether there is availability of clean, warm water. Check to see if privacy and modesty can be met.


Healthcare providers, particularly nurses and health care assistants have a duty of ensuring that clients are always correctly positioned in bed or while sitting, which requires frequent changing of the service users’ position (Aljabri et al., 2020 p.215). A prolonged position becomes uncomfortable and turns painful. Independent service users can assume different positions during rest as opposed to dependent persons. Individuals who cannot move or freely change positions of their limbs due to their total or partial dependency on care workers should be moved frequently at regular intervals, preferably after every 2 hours. Regular positioning of clients helps in relieving pressure on the affected areas, improves their comfort, prevents deformities or formation of contractures, and enhances circulation in the body. Notably, the support required in positioning a client is dependent on the needs of each individual client as assessed by the care provider.

Manual handling

The Safety Health and Welfare Act 2005 requires employers to assess the operations that carried out through manual handling to identify the possible risk of injuries and develop mitigation measures to prevent or minimise the risks. In a healthcare setting, employers are required to consult with health and social care workers in relation to the established protective procedures and their effectiveness (Health and Safety Authority, 2011 P.3). The health and safety of clients in healthcare settings can be harnessed through:

  • Training care providers on the use of sliding sheets or patient hoists
  • Using handling aids such as trolleys to transfer hospital files, personal equipment, laundry and food
  • Widening door openings to facilitate ease of entrance of hoists
  • Training staff members about patient handling techniques
  • Use of lifts, slopes and low gradients ramps instead of staircases to facilitate ease of movement or handling.

Importance of safe and hygienic work practices

Safety and hygiene practices at the workplace are important in any organization as it provides numerous benefits to the service users, the staff, the employer and other stakeholders (Aljabri et al., 2020 p.218). Notably, the practices protect the safety, hygiene and overall welfare of the employees, clients, and all stakeholders within their premises, which is a responsibility bestowed on the employer. Besides, safe and hygiene practices reduce work-related injuries, reduce absences due to illnesses and injuries, and improve the productivity of employees. Additionally, the practices help in saving money as the organizations cut down on costs associated with employee absences, poor productivity and employees’ compensation due to work-related injuries (Gallen et al., 2019 p.130).

Factors that enhance the privacy, dignity, independence and positive self-image of a client

A person’s dignity can fluctuate based on different circumstances as it is influenced by factors such as nature of the care environment, events, an individual’s feelings and interactions (Grassi et al., 2019 p.97). Besides, the opinions of a patient about the most valuable aspects of their dignity can change and differs from one service user to another or among health care workers. Staff behaviours, attitudes and interactions with service user impact on the dignity of patients through communication and interaction, essential care, and provision of privacy. When health care workers treat patients with value, clients feel their dignity is respected (Pirzada et al., 2021 p.3). Besides, staff attitudes affect the perception and actual conduct of their behaviour towards their clients. Also, communication and interaction with clients can promote their dignity as they tend to free on control, conformable, and valued, particularly when a rapport develops between the patient and the healthcare workers and their views are valued.

The privacy and confidentiality of a client is mostly observed by respecting and maintaining the boundaries of personal space, privacy of information, as well as privacy of the body (Grassi et al., 2019 p.104). Health and social care workers should always seek the consent of patients when entering their personal spaces such as rooms, wardrobes and bags, and when touching or moving their personal belongings. Maintaining confidentiality by keeping the patient’s information private is also important since such information is usually shared in confidence. Additionally, the patient’s body must be respected by enhancing its privacy through seeking consent before any procedures are done, including undressing, bathing or conducting examinations (Pirzada et al., 2021 p.10). Furthermore, adequately covering the clients’ bodies where necessary, removing only minimum clothing and closing the bedside curtains can facilitate the patients’ privacy.

The positive self-image and independence can be enhanced through essential care, which is the care that most clients can perform independently for themselves since early childhood, including drinking, eating, dressing, toileting and personal hygiene (Matiti and Baillie, 2020, p.10). Essential personal care affects the dignity of the clients by impacting on the confidence and self-esteem of the clients thereby promoting their self-image positively. Besides, independence of the clients can be enhanced by promoting their autonomy. Here, health and social care workers only offer assistance to those in need while allowing the clients to perform the tasks that they can by themselves.

Relevant records that must be maintained on clients

Health and social care records are designed to offer a description of the clients’ health status prior to, during, and after undergoing a care procedure (HSE, 2021 p.1). Clients’ documentation that should be maintained includes personal information record, consent forms, care plans, evaluation sheets, medication sheets, referral letters, transfer letters and any additional records.

Summary of discussion and recommendations

Health and social care workers providing care services are obligated to implement safe and secure practices as described under the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005. Employers are required to ensure that safety, health and overall welfare of the employees, patients, and other stakeholders is enhanced. In dealing with clients, especially during assistance with activities of daily living such as washing, manual handling, bathing and positioning, health and social care workers should follow organizational procedures as stated in the safety procedures policy, legislative requirements, and other processes from relevant statutory agencies such as the Health and Safety Authority. Notably, observing safe and hygienic work practices helps in reducing work-related injuries and absence of employees, improves productivity, and protects the health and welfare of staff members, clients, and stakeholders. Health and social care workers are responsible for enhancing the privacy, dignity, self-image and independence of service users by maintaining confidentiality of information, respecting personal space, offering essential care, and promoting autonomy of the service users.


Aljabri, D., Vaughn, A., Austin, M., White, L., Li, Z., Naessens, J. and Spaulding, A., 2020. An investigation of healthcare worker perception of their workplace safety and incidence of injury. Workplace health & safety68(5), pp.214-225.

Edemekong, P.F., Bomgaars, D.L. and Levy, S.B., 2017. Activities of daily living (ADLs).

Gallen, A., Kodate, N. and Casey, D., 2019. How do nurses and midwives perceive their preparedness for quality improvement and patient safety in practice? A cross-sectional national study in Ireland. Nurse education today76, pp.125-130.

Grassi, L., Chochinov, H., Moretto, G. and Nanni, M.G., 2019. Dignity-conserving care in medicine. In Person Centered Approach to Recovery in Medicine (pp. 97-115). Springer, Cham.

Health and Safety Authority. 2005. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. [online] Available at: <,_Health_and_Welfare_at_Work_Act_2005/> [Accessed 11 December 2021].

Health and Safety Authority. 2011. Guidance on the Management of Manual Handling in Healthcare. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 December 2021].

Health and Safety Authority. 2017. Occupational Safety and Health and Home Care 2017. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 December 2021].

Health Service Executive. 2021. Healthcare Records Documentation Requirements. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 December 2021].

Matiti, M.R. and Baillie, L., 2020. The concept of dignity. In Dignity in Healthcare (pp. 9-23). Routledge.

Pirzada, P., Wilde, A., Doherty, G.H. and Harris-Birtill, D., 2021. Ethics and acceptance of smart homes for older adults. Informatics for Health and Social Care, pp.1-28.

Zimmerman, P.A.P., Sladdin, I., Shaban, R.Z., Gilbert, J. and Brown, L., 2020. Factors influencing hand hygiene practice of nursing students: A descriptive, mixed-methods study. Nurse education in practice44, p.102746.


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