CONFIDENTIALITY IN HEALTHCARE
The object of this essay is to outline the importance of confidentiality within a healthcare setting. It will begin with outlining how this is achieved within a nursing home. It will briefly investigate the world of law and ethics in healthcare and demonstrate the critical importance of private information held about another person being kept private and secure. In addition it will outline the instances where confidentiality can be waived.
A nursing home is an establishment where elderly people will be resident and where there will be a nurse on duty at all times. The nurse will be bound by the Nursing & Midwifery Council's Code of Professional Conduct. A specific tenet of this code is to "protect confidential information" (NMC.2002, p. 2). This will be done by ensuring that every care plan relating to every resident will be contained in a locked cabinet, to which only those individuals on a 'need to know' basis will have access. There will also be a need for discretion to be maintained when discussing a resident's details within earshot of someone unconnected with this person. An additional difficulty of trying to maintain privacy and discretion when in a fairly busy environment like a nursing home, is the use of equipment such as walkie-talkies or tannoys. It would be very easy for people to forget that when passing messages over equipment such as this that everyone can hear what is being said, not just the health professionals concerned. It also becomes necessary to be vigilant regarding which documents are left lying around. Final...