By working as a postnatal practitioner you are working very closely with families in their own homes, so they might come to trust in you and be a trusted listener. You are likely to be told private and personal information, you must respect the personal and private nature of this information and you should keep it confidential. However, you may encounter situations where it is difficult to keep the information confidential so you need to plan ahead for how you can avoid breaking confidence.
Confidentiality means not sharing or passing on information about families or an individuals with other people unless;
The family have given permission for the information to be shared (for instance with professionals in other services)
The welfare of the child is at stake (for instance, in the interest of protecting the child from abuse, and then information can only be passed to appropriate professionals)
It is best to give the families this information on your first visit, so they are aware you have an obligation to pass information over if you feel it is necessary but equally that you abide by confidentiality when needed.
Some families might seek to have a practitioner from outside their area or equally want you to travel a little bit to their location as they may not want someone local to know what goes on inside the home from fear of people knowing their business and talking about them in the local community.
Somethings that we might deem as conversation or innocently think they have achieved something, if we pass on that information to another person even their partner within the home we could never be sure of the implications that could cause, so it is always best to not discuss anything about someone with someone else and simply explain it’s confidential you are unable to discuss it.
This is something that should never be far from our minds and be aware of our words and even if we are talking innocently, we will never fully know the repercussions of our actions.
For instance, if we are out and about a neighbour might say they recognise us and want to talk about the family you are supporting, while we understand you have to acknowledge them, its best not to divulge any information and move away from the conversation or situation as soon as possible.
If you have friends who are inquisitive about what your job entails while it is ok to tell them what kind of jobs you do, you must keep to your self how you help individual families and don’t use examples to help your friend understand your job in great detail.
Sometimes if you have been in the home when there has been a visit from a health visitor or midwife or other professional, they would then be aware of you and who you are, so if you were to find yourself in a position of visiting your own doctors or pharmacy and bump into them you must not discuss the family you have both been supporting as this can be seen as a breach of confidentiality even though you have both been involved with this family.
If you find yourself in a situation with a family and you are unsure of how you can support them or proceed with a certain area of care, you can reach out and discuss it within our private Facebook group or over the phone with us, however, we would ask you not to share any personal details and ask the questions in a general way so no one would know the family you were referring to.
You might often find you bump into family and friends of the family you are working with and they may be kept to ask you questions, or how they are or fish for some sort of scoop of what’s going on in the home, again it is best to refer to confidentiality and cant discuss it with them.
CONFIDENTIALLY ONLINE/ ZOOM /STORING RECORDS
With the online work we are evolving into, we need to be aware of breech of confidentiality using online or over the phone technology.
When speaking to a family on the phone it is best to make sure you are in a place where your own family can’t hear the conversation or equally the mum might not want her family to hear what she is saying so always best to ask mum when you ring if she is ok to talk, and encourage her to do the same if she rings you to discuss something, otherwise is it best to wait til you are in person to talk about something when the environment is better to control.
However there are times when in person isn’t always available (recent global pandemic) and we need to use online platforms to keep in touch and support families, but you need to make sure whichever platform you are using is secure and abides with confidentiality rules.
Equally, if you are keeping a diary of baby tracker or a personal diary of events, be aware with GDPR rules that a family can request their own notes at any time so refrain from writing things you wouldn’t want them to see, but also keep notes in a safe place so no one else can see them lying around, or if you are storing notes on the computer that you are using a package that is secure for storing personal details.