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Gender-related Care (England) Policy

Policy Statement

This policy should be used in association with the policies on Intimate Personal Care and Contact, Professional Boundaries, Bullying, Harassment and Safeguarding People Using a Care Service from Abuse or Harm. It is produced to explain the policy of this care service on the implications of gender on the care provided and on care relationships. It also needs to be read in relation to the serviceā€™s equality and diversity policies.

This policy is in line with the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 for safe, person-centred care that always maintains peopleā€™s dignity and respect, particularly:

Care can be provided and care tasks carried out in different gender contexts: male/female users of services and male/female care workers. It is a fact that most care workers are female and a minority are male in most services where personal care is a primary feature of the work.

The service always seeks from views and preferences from people who use the services over the gender of their day-to-day carers, particularly in relation to the carrying out of intimate personal care tasks. People might express preferences or show indifference to the gender of their carer, and the service knows from experience that individual attitudes should never be presumed.

Transgender (trans) and non-binary people have the same basic healthcare needs as all other people who use services. As with all people, trans and non-binary people should always be treated respectfully when they receive any personal care, whether specific to gender or not.

However, most males, females, trans and non-binary people will expect their care to be carried out by female carers, and it is relatively easy to identify exceptions to this, eg a male who only wants care from another male.

The service is committed to meeting individual preferences as its resources allow. Where it is not possible to meet individualsā€™ strong preferences for a carer of one gender or another because of lack of suitable staffing, the situation will be carefully explained and a compromise will be sought. All discussions and decisions are recorded on the personā€™s service agreement/care plan.

Although recognising the need to take the personā€™s preferences into account, the service is also mindful of its responsibilities to comply with equality and anti-discrimination legislation and will always explain to the person the limits to their preferences.

In employing care staff of both genders in line with equal opportunities policies, the service recognises that it has a duty of care to its staff as well as people who use its services. It recognises in line with its duty of care that it should not place them in situations where their professional integrity as male/female, and abilities to work within well-defined professional boundaries are seriously put at risk.

The service recognises that both male and female carers are exposed to some common risks from people who use services, eg physical aggression, but there are also gender-related risks. Female care workers are arguably more vulnerable to abuse, particularly sexual abuse, than their male colleagues. Males are arguably more vulnerable to allegations of sexual abuse; both sets of risks need to be well managed.

Once a person who uses services makes an allegation of abuse it must be investigated in line with the serviceā€™s safeguarding from abuse/harm procedures, irrespective of whether they turn out to be with or without foundation.

The service therefore sets out to assess and manage all possible risks to the emotional safety and professional integrity of its care workers of either gender by listing in each care plan any personal care tasks to be carried out with an assessment of each of them of any risks to individuals and care workers serving them.

The risk assessments include the type of care needed, the environment where the care is given and any gender-related emotional hazards/dangers that could adversely influence the carrying out of the agreed tasks, which might need specific management.

Examples

  1. A female user needs help with her sanitary arrangements, when menstruating, which she always prefers to come from a female care worker. It is inappropriate from all points of view for a male carer to carry out those tasks and a female will always be allocated to help with those specific tasks.
  2. A female carer agrees to take a male person who will use {{org_field_name}}s, who sometimes displays sexually inappropriate behaviour when dressing and undressing, to the swimming baths. An agreement is made with the swimming pool for two male attendants to be available to supervise the person in the changing rooms.
  3. Transgender individualsĀ may have specific issues addressingĀ continenceĀ problems due to stigma and lack of understanding. Sensitive open communication is key as to the most appropriate support. See the Continence and Urinary Tract Care topic for more information.

Supervision and Support

The management of the service always discusses gender-related care issues that need to be addressed within a care plan with the care workers involved. It will always attempt to work out with the involved staff membersā€™ strategies to assess and manage not only the risks but the feelings of comfort/discomfort that are inevitable in these situations.

Staff are encouraged to use ongoing support and supervision (and where available and relevant occupational counselling) to discuss their feelings in situations where there are evident emotional risks to them.

Managers will also monitor closely and regularly review these situations to make sure that the services being provided are to the expected standards within established professional boundaries and appropriateness. They will intervene where this appears needed to safeguard the person and/or carer.

Training

All staff are required to read and follow this policy and related policies as part of their induction and are provided with training on professional boundaries and gender-related care matters.


Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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