Our Ethical Code
Our Ethical Code
We believe that each person has the right to live their lives to the fullest. To make decisions that are both empowering and beneficial in one's live. Therefore, to help with this we have a Code of Ethics to help support this while ensuring we meet the best standards as directed by CLBC (Community Living British Columbia).
Identifying the scope of practice and only practicing within the Roles and Responsibilities of Support Workers outlined by the job description. Code of Ethics
What is a Code of Ethics?
A Code of Ethics is a system of principles that govern and guide responsible, ethical, and professional conduct within the scope of a field of work. Simply, ethics inform practitioners when determining what is right and wrong.
Who does the Code of Ethics apply to?
This Code of Ethics applies to all support workers in the field of Community Social Services employed through the Eclipse Foundation for Individualized Supports.
What is the purpose of the Code of Ethics?
The Code of Ethics provides SWs at Eclipse with a framework for personal and professional conduct to guide them in their practice. It outlines the ethical and professional behaviours expected of each employee when engaging with their clients, employers and the broader public. The Code of Ethics reflects each SW’s commitment to promoting the highest level of care and acts as a benchmark for reviewing and addressing concerns related to their conduct.
In addition to informing SWs of the behaviour expected of them when engaging in practice, the Code of Ethics helps to inform the public of what they can expect when receiving services from an Eclipse SW. It also instills confidence in the SW workforce by recognizing the SW’s commitment to providing safe and competent service through high standards of ethical conduct.
Guiding Principles for Ethical Professional Practice
As integral members of the social services system, SWs work in complex environments to provide client care to members of the most vulnerable populations. SWs work across various social service sectors that differ in client population, work culture and employment responsibilities. Regardless of sector of service, SWs share a commitment to improving the health and quality of life for their clients, each other and the greater public. Eclipse has adopted eight (8) principles of ethical conduct that are considered to be most important in providing support services to individuals served through Eclipse:
- Client Autonomy
- Client Well-being
- Honesty and Truthfulness
- Privacy and Confidentiality
- Professional Integrity
- Respect for Clients and Justice
For each of the eight (8) principles of ethical conduct, there is an accompanying list of indicators. These indicators are not exhaustive and should be treated as a guide for SWs in their day-to-day practice to determine if a principle has been achieved or demonstrated. It is expected that all SWs will strive to exemplify the principles outlined in the Code of Ethics and avoid engaging in behaviours that would violate the principles.
The principles listed in this document are in alphabetical order and do not reflect an order of importance. All principles are considered to be of equal importance and their numbering/order should not be misconstrued as ranking.
SWs are expected to practice safely and competently in conformity with this Code of Ethics, relevant regulations, standards and policies as applicable to their practice and their employment with Eclipse. SWs are expected to accept responsibility for all of their decisions and actions, which includes acts of omission.
- Identifying the scope of practice and only practicing within the Roles and Responsibilities of Support Workers outlined by the job description.
- Cooperating with inquiries from Eclipse related to SW information.
3.Cooperating with an Eclipse inquiry regarding conduct.
4. Engaging in thorough and proper note taking during client interactions.
5. Ensuring that client records are properly maintained upon each administration of client support activities
6. Refraining from practice when the ability to do so is impaired
- SWs are expected to be knowledgeable of, and practice in accordance with, Eclipse’s job description for Support Workers, Code of Ethics, relevant regulations, and policies.
- SWs are expected to cooperate with Eclipse for inquiries about information submitted as part of a SW’s performance and employment. This includes taking steps to ensure that any information provided to Eclipse is complete and accurate, providing all relevant records and documentation, and providing written and oral responses to inquiries made by Eclipse in a timely manner.
- SWs are responsible for the service that they provide and are expected to be able to justify their decisions made when providing client support. During an inquiry by Eclipse, an SW must answer honestly and truthfully to the best of their knowledge and should not omit any information that is relevant to the inquiry. SWs must not attempt to impede or obstruct an inquiry, nor should they engage in activities to intentionally deceive Eclipse.
- The recording of accurate, complete, and truthful notes during client interactions are essential to ensuring that the highest level of client support is being provided. The SW is expected to take all necessary steps to ensure that records are not falsified or compromised. Examples of how this can be achieved include only documenting care that is provided, ensuring that all documentation is objective, accurate and complete, and including all relevant encounters with the client.
- While it may not be possible to document all support provided to a client at the exact moment it is occurring, SWs are expected to document their interactions and support provided to clients at the earliest time available to ensure the accuracy and applicability of the client’s support plan(s).
- SWs are expected to practice only when they are both mentally and physically capable of providing care safely and competently. An SW is not permitted to work while impaired on any substance, including but not limited to alcohol and drugs.
2. Client Autonomy
Clients have the right to self-determination and freedom of choice to make decisions about their health-related quality of life and physical functioning. Clients should be respected as self-governing decision makers capable of thinking, deciding and making choices related to their own service and support plan. In certain circumstances, a client may not be capable of making certain decisions for themselves and may have a substitute decision maker (“SDM”) who is authorized to make those decisions on the client’s behalf. SWs must always consult with their client or the SDM to obtain consent before engaging in activities related to client’s support. SWs are expected to provide their clients or their SDM with the necessary information needed to make an informed choice to consent to or refuse support from a SW.
- Respecting clients right to make decisions for themselves
2. Obtaining informed consent before providing any form of support
3. Identifying one’s own personal beliefs and ensuring they do not conflict with practice obligations
4. Identifying requests for support that may be in contradiction to the legal or ethical practice requirements of an SW
- SWs must respect and recognize their client’s autonomy to make decisions and choices for themselves. When determining how to meet a support request, an SW must always try to advance the client’s interests ahead of their own provided that it is in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Roles and Responsibilities of Support Workers.
A client is capable of making their own support decisions where they can understand the nature of the support that is being provided, as well as the consequences of accepting or rejecting support. If the client is not capable of making their own support decisions, but has an authorized SDM, the SDM should be consulted for consent. An SW should ensure that the client (or their SDM) provides oral or written consent to any form of support prior to acting on the support.
When obtaining consent from a client (or their SDM), the SW must document the consent as part of their care notes. Where consent was obtained from the client (or their SDM) during the development of a support plan, the SW should ensure that consent to the plan has not been withdrawn prior to the implementation of the support plan.
If a client makes a request for support or withdrawal of support that goes against the moral, ethical, and/or conscience of the SW, the SW must address the conflict immediately. In these circumstances, it is not appropriate to withdraw services until appropriate arrangements have been made to ensure that the client’s support needs are met and that there is no gap in services. In circumstances where it is not possible to find alternative support, the SW must provide the immediate support required to the client until alternative arrangements have been made.
If an SW is asked by any party to perform an act of support that would violate the laws of BC or Canada, is beyond their scope and/or training, or that could be considered harmful to the health of the client, they must inform the client or the requesting party that they are not permitted to perform the act in a manner that is respectful and free of judgment.
3. Client Well-being
As trusted social service workers, SWs are expected to use their knowledge, judgment and skills to provide routine support and assistance to facilitate their client’s health and welfare. SWs must consider the best interest of their client at all times and are expected to be diligent in their efforts to do no harm and, whenever reasonably possible, prevent harm from occurring to their client.
- Ensuring continuing care is met
2. Engaging with the client in a manner that is free of any form of abuse
*Community Care and Assisted Living Act
3. Maintaining appropriate SW client relationships and boundaries
4. Recognizing when one’s ability to practice safely and competently is compromised and refraining from client support
The SW is responsible for ensuring that the needs of their clients are met; they are not permitted to abandon or neglect their client at any time. An SW should only discontinue the provision of services if one of the following three situations occurs:
1) The client requests the discontinuation;
2) Alternative or replacement services have been arranged; or
3) The client is given a reasonable opportunity to make alternative or replacement services and has chosen not to do so.
If support cannot be provided due to discontinuation or the SW has chosen to resign from their position, the SW should take the appropriate steps to notify the employer and client. The SW cannot inappropriately withdraw their services to their client.
An SW must not engage in any form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse or financial abuse (“Abuse” as defined by O.Reg.79/10:GENERAL under the Long Term Care Act”)* towards their client. Abuse can include an assortment of actions or omissions including, but not limited to:
· Neglect (e.g. failing to meet the client’s basic needs such as withholding support, food, medication or other aid).
· Conduct that may be perceived as sexual, demeaning, exploitative, derogatory, and/or humiliating to the client (e.g. inappropriate language or remarks about the client’s race, ethnicity, sexual identity, family status, or socioeconomic status).
SWs are expected to establish and maintain professional boundaries when engaging in client support. Any action exceeding the scope of professional support (e.g. intimate relationships or the borrowing of money) is forbidden. All actions and decisions should be related to the provision of support.
In an effort to do no harm and act in the best interest of the client, the SW must ensure that they are physically and mentally capable of providing high quality services. It is expected that an SW will maintain their own health at all times and will not engage in acts of client support if they are not capable of performing those acts.
4. Honesty and Truthfulness
Honesty and truthfulness are fundamental to fostering a relationship of trust between the SW and client. SWs are expected to communicate with clients in a manner that is transparent and truthful. SWs must not withhold information that impacts support from their client as this is considered equivalent to falsifying information.
- Properly documenting support provided
2. Maintaining commitments to clients
3. Refraining from theft, misuse or abuse of clients’ personal property
- Falsification of client records violates the fundamental trust that underpins the relationship between clients and SWs. An SW should only document support that has been provided to the client.
- SWs have an obligation to fulfill the standards of support services expected by the client and the field of social services work. SWs are trusted social service workers and are expected to engage in client support that reaffirms their commitment to their client’s well-being.
- There may be instances where an SW gains access to personal property or financial information about their clients. SWs are not permitted to misuse the trust, property or funds of their clients; this may constitute a criminal offence.
5. Privacy and Confidentiality
SWs must respect the privacy of their clients and should only collect, use, access, disclose and store the minimum amount of information required to provide safe and competent support. When providing support, SWs should assure that the dignity and privacy of their client is maintained and should refrain from unnecessarily intruding on a client’s privacy. An SW must respect the client’s right to confidentiality at all times. Information disclosed to an SW by a client should be held in confidence unless consent is received with respect to any subsequent disclosure. If the SW needs to share relevant information with members of the support team, the SW must clearly explain to the client what information will be shared with the team.
- Protecting their client’s privacy
2. Refraining from disclosing personal information or personal health information without consent
3. Maintaining privacy in electronic communications (Email, social media, etc.)
- All personal information that SWs become aware of through the course of their practice must be treated with the strictest confidence. In addition, SWs should refrain from the collection of information regarding a client that is not being used for client support.
- An SW must not share information about a client’s identity, support, care, treatment, condition or any other personal information that is obtained through the SW’s practice without proper consent. While it is common for family members and/or friends to be concerned about the client’s well-being, SWs must not disclose any information about their client without receiving consent from the client to do so.
- An SW must not share information electronically in any public forum and should maintain the client’s electronic privacy. This includes all images, words, and character descriptions made about the client regardless of the intent of the communication.
SWs must practice within the parameters defined by this Code of Ethics, their verified education/training, terms of employment, Roles and Responsibilities, and legal authority. SWs are expected to maintain ongoing competence in their current area of practice and must continuously improve their competence to respond to evolving and emerging social service needs.
- Engaging in activities that demonstrate one’s commitment to maintaining ongoing competence
2. Recognizing and refraining from inappropriate transfers of authority
- SWs are expected to stay current with best practices of providing support. This may include attending workshops, seminars, conferences, or taking continuing education/professional development courses as needed to improve their competencies and respond to the needs of their clients
- When an SW is asked to do any task that is beyond the Roles and Responsibilities of their job description and governing Acts, they should refuse the task, document the incident, and report it to the appropriate manager(s) in their workplace. It is important to stay current on what is within their job description and all relevant Acts and not accept assignments that go beyond the role and standards.
7. Professional Integrity
SWs must consistently adopt and practice within an ethical manner detailed in this Code of Ethics, their job description, and policies relevant to the social service workforce. All SWs are expected to willingly uphold the beliefs, values, knowledge and principles associated with the best practices of social service support work regardless of practice setting.
- Maintaining fair and transparent social service support practices
2. Avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest
3. Acting in a manner that is respectful of the profession, Eclipse, and the position, and one that upholds the principles outlined in this Code of Ethics
4. Reporting criminal convictions
5. Working within capacity
- Where an SW is independently employed, and/or employed in an independent, autonomous position, it is expected that they will conduct their business in a clear and transparent manner, which includes billing for their services (if applicable) in a clear and transparent manner, tracking time spent with clients, tracking services rendered to clients, and ensuring that the client is aware of the services they are paying for. It is expected that if an SW does not fulfill their contractual or employment obligations they will not accept payment/compensation for services not rendered.
An SW must avoid situations where their personal interests may influence their professional judgement and/or interfere with their obligation to act in the best interest of the client.
Examples of conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:
· Accepting cash or gifts of monetary value from clients
· Accepting large gifts (valued above 50 dollars) from clients
· Borrowing money from clients or lending money to clients
· Displaying favouritism to one client for non-support related reasons, which may impact the support provided to another client
· Advertising one’s commercial services to clients or their relatives/friends for whom they are providing support
· Attempting to persuade clients to alter their will or estate
Intervening where inappropriate support is being provided
An SW is expected to take measures to protect their client from harm by intervening when they see or suspect inappropriate support is being provided by another SW or support professional. Depending on the seriousness of the behaviour, an SW may have different reporting duties, which may include one or more of the following:
· Discussing concerns with the individual who is acting inappropriately
· Reporting the situation to their supervisor
· Reporting the incident to Eclipse management, the police, or other appropriate organization(s) responsible for the protection of individuals
The SW should use their discretion and judgment when deciding what the most appropriate reporting method is to minimize harm to the client.
SWs must act in a manner that is respectful of the occupation in terms of both actions taken as well as acts of omission. Examples of behaviour or omissions that would violate this Code of Ethics and reflect poorly on the profession as a whole includes, but is not limited to:
· Wrongfully claiming workplace insurance benefits or sick pay
· Forging time records;
· Inappropriately engaging with clients beyond acceptable boundaries for client support;
· Neglecting client (e.g. using phone for recreation purposes, sleeping while on duty, etc.);
· Altering or falsifying credentials or training; or
· Discriminating or displaying prejudice behaviour towards a client or a group of clients.
To maintain an SW’s integrity, an SW must report any criminal convictions to Eclipse as soon as possible. The treatment of convictions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance to Eclipse’s processes; however, failure to report a conviction constitutes a serious breach of this Code of Ethics and Eclipse’s Policies. Failure to report criminal convictions could result in penalties up to and including dismissal.
Capacity is defined as the possession of the knowledge, skills, good character and ability to practice as an SW and within the Roles and Responsibilities of the job description. An SW is expected to facilitate support or services to clients only if they have the required capacity to do so. If an SW does not have the capacity or competence to provide particular acts of support, they must not perform or attempt to perform those acts of support.
8. Respect for Clients and Justice
SWs must respect, uphold, and promote the rights and the dignity of their clients at all times. An SW must treat all clients in a manner that is respectful and just regardless of the client’s ability, age, culture, gender, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, status of health, or any other characteristic.
- Respecting a client’s values and beliefs
2. Treating all clients equally with respect and dignity
3. Maintaining appropriate boundaries and relationships with clients
- SWs should be respectful of the client’s preference to make decisions based on their cultural, religious, and/or other beliefs.
- SWs are expected to provide the same level of support to all clients regardless of the client’s ability, age, culture, gender, sexual identity, religion, or any other characteristic. It is a violation of a client’s rights for an SW to treat them differently based on any personal identifying characteristics. Discriminatory treatment could include not providing the same level of support amongst clients because of personal identifying characteristics, making demeaning or negative remarks about the characteristic, or attempting to change the individual’s identity in any manner.
Respect for the dignity of clients includes not sexually abusing, harassing, touching, or engaging in any other conduct of a sexual nature and/or inappropriate nature. This includes, but is not limited to, the following type of conduct:
· Touching or physical interaction of a sexual nature, of the client by the support worker
· Behaviour or remarks of a sexual or romantic nature by the support worker toward the client.