You will be told where to locate a list of policies and procedures that all staff members are expected to follow. A policy is a course of action that should be taken every time a certain situation occurs. For example, one policy at most agencies is that the care plan must be followed. That means that every time you visit a client, what you do will be determined by the care plan. A procedure is a particular method, or way, of doing something. For example, your agency will have a procedure for reporting information about your clients. The procedure tells you what form you fill out, when and how often to fill it out, and to whom it is given.
Common policies and procedures at home health agencies include the following:
- Keep all information confidential. Keeping information confidential means not telling anyone about it. This is not only an agency rule, it is also the law. The agency and all its employees must keep all information about clients and their families confidential. Be careful where you keep your notes and assignment sheets. Keeping your paperwork in the open where someone could read it, or losing your notes or assignments, is a breach of confidentiality. Confidentiality also extends to the agency’s personnel files and clinical records. This means your employer cannot give out information about you from your job application or other records.
- Follow the client’s care plan. Home health aides should perform all tasks assigned by the care plan. They should not do any tasks that are not included or approved by the case manager or supervisor. If the client or family requests changes, they should be told to speak to the supervisor.
- Report to the supervisor at regular arranged times, and more frequently if necessary. For example, home health aides must report the following to their supervisors: important events or changes in clients and their families, an accident on the job, and anything that delays or prevents them from going to or completing an assignment.
- Do not discuss personal problems with the client or the client’s family. Discussing your personal problems is unprofessional. You must act in a professional manner. Clients should see you as someone whose job is to provide care, rather than as a friend.
- Be punctual and dependable. Employers expect this of all employees.
- Follow deadlines for documentation and paperwork. Timely and accurate documentation is very important.
- Provide all client care in a pleasant, professional manner.
- Do not give or accept gifts. Gift giving and receiving is not allowed because it is unprofessional. Gift giving can cause other problems as well. For example, a client may forget giving an object as a gift and report it as stolen. Some clients who give gifts may believe they deserve special treatment.