Health and Social Care

Explain How Duty of Care Contributes to The Safeguarding

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Duty of care plays one of the most critical roles in ensuring citizens’ overall health and well-being. Similarly, safeguarding means protecting citizens from harm, abuse and neglect.

However, it is not relatively easy for a care worker to establish a relationship with the person receiving the care while maintaining their rights and following the duty of care regulations.

Duty of care contributes to safeguarding individuals’ rights and keeping their needs in mind, which can sometimes create dilemmas. In this blog, you will learn about your responsibilities while facing difficulties and how to successfully maintain both parts.

This blog will extensively explain how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals.

What is Duty of Care in Health and Social Care?

The term ‘Duty of Care’ refers to a situation in which you must ensure the health, safety, and well-being of others; this can include things like ensuring safe working conditions and providing sensible feedback.

Duty of Care in the Health and Social Care means organisations in the health and social care sectors have a duty of care to the individuals they serve. That is to say, they must do everything possible to keep the persons safe in their care. Therefore, it is not only the responsibility of the care institution to prioritise the safety, welfare, and interests of the individuals who use its services but also the care workers’ responsibility.

Two people are holding hands together


Duty of Care in Health and Social Care: Responsibilities & Examples

Duty of Care is a legal requirement that is imposed on every citizen. It will apply from the time a person receives care or treatment. If you breach your duty of care, you may face legal consequences, such as being found negligent.


Caring for patients is the primary responsibility of a care worker. Individual well-being, welfare, legality, and good practice are part of the duty of care.

The responsibilities of a care worker in health and social care include-

  • Consulting patients, discussing their health-care requirements, and giving recommendations.
  • Preparing health-care plans, as needed. Always maintaining a professional approach and serving patients with care and compassion.
  • Offering safe health-care services, follow all local, state, and federal rules and regulations.
  • Maintaining an individual’s privacy and dignity at all times.


Let’s see some examples of the duty of care responsibilities at work.

  • Example 1- As a healthcare assistant, you are responsible for providing personal care to a patient. Before touching them, make sure you get their permission, explain what you’re about to do, and keep their body covered. This preserves their dignity while fulfilling your responsibility to look after them.
  • Example 2- People may experience mental trauma as a result of social abuse, which may lead to future self-harm. Social abuse includes having poor connections with friends and other people, not performing well in school, and having difficulty at work.

In this case, as a care professional, you can assist the abused person in forming a solid support network inside the family and ensuring that the abused person is not isolated from the environment they are staying in.

Two doctors and a nurse are doing their work together


Addressing Responsibilities and Managing Duty of Care Dilemmas

As a care worker, it is expected to face some dilemmas while taking care of a vulnerable person. On the one hand, you must encourage the individual’s safety and well-being and do your utmost to keep them safe.But, on the other, you must respect an individual’s right to make their own life decisions, even if you believe they are making a mistake.

For instance, you may be caring for someone who is clinically obese, and if they continue to overeat, they may suffer from serious diseases. So, instead, you need to look out for the individual’s best interests by encouraging them to eat less, yet the individual is free to eat whatever they want.

If your duty of care conflicts with an individual’s right to independence by taking away some of their freedom, you must find other ways to promote their independence. For example, you think they should not use a kettle to make a cup of tea because they might harm themselves. But, if you stop them from making a cup of tea, you are taking away their individual right to independence. They can regain their freedom if you ask them to make a cup of tea with your supervision so that no harm occurs.

Another example of restoring individual freedom while maintaining the duty of care responsibility would be: if someone wants to try a new activity but is unsure about its safety, you should prepare a risk assessment explaining the possibility of the risk occurring. The purpose of preparing a risk assessment is to detect potential health and safety concerns and assess the risks and identify faults.

Explain how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals

The primary concern of duty of care and safeguarding is the safety and well-being of individuals, and the duty of care contributes to their safeguarding and protection. Health-care personnel are responsible for ensuring that their activities do not harm the people they help.

It helps to guarantee that healthcare staff only behave in the best interests of the people they care for. As a result, the duty of care and safeguarding responsibilities are tightly linked because they are designed to protect those receiving care services.

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Potential Conflicts or Dilemmas that may Arise Between the Duty of Care and an Individual’s Rights

Individuals may desire to undertake potentially dangerous things for their health and safety. While the duty of care requires you to do all possible to keep them safe, you also have a responsibility to respect their rights and choices.

The duty to preserve an individual’s well-being frequently clashes with that person’s right to make their own decisions. When you know that the person you care for as a care worker should not be doing something, you cannot force them not to do this, you should respect that they have the right to make their own decisions.

How does the Duty of Care Contribute to the Safeguarding or Protection of Individuals?

Regarding supporting people’s rights and choices, the duty of care can include ensuring that they have the resources they need to make their own decisions, such as food, water, shelter, and safety when supporting individuals’ rights and choices.

It could also include disseminating information so that people can make well-informed decisions. While safeguarding is also about ensuring citizens’ health and safety so they can live without fear and conflicts.


Where to get additional support, advice or information about conflicts and dilemmas?

Various services are accessible to help you with conflicts and dilemmas. You can also consult a therapist or counsellor for assistance. They’ll be able to offer you objective advice and service while you work through the issue or difficulty. You can also discover helpful information about settling arguments and making decisions online or in books. The more knowledge you collect, the better prepared you will be to make the best decisions for yourself.

The resources you create yourself may be the most useful. In other words, a personal code of ethics can be a “go-to” resource. You don’t have to agree with someone else’s beliefs and ideas, but it’s worth analysing whether their viewpoints are similar to yours.

Doctors and nurses wearing masks and boards in their hands


Safeguarding and duty of care are on the same page. Safeguarding enables the safety for people to be away and safe from the bully, harassment and neglect, while the duty of care is for the people who need to be safeguarded. Hope this blog has cleared your queries about how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals.

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