Operators must not disclose confidential information about residents or prospective residents…. NSW Rules of Conduct number 9!

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A timely reminder of Section 9 of the new Retirement Village amendment (Rules of Conduct for operators NSW).  Confidential matters of residents and prospective residents must be respected.

Operators must not disclose or use any confidential information about residents, prospective residents, relatives or others acting on behalf of either party, unless the person provides authorisation in writing or was informed prior to obtaining the information of the intended use of the information.

This can have a great impact on how we operate each day. Here is an example. I am sure most of us would be acting with good intention when we request staff keep an extra eye out for Mrs Smith when she returns from hospital or we ask a neighbour to look in over the weekend.

Under the new NSW Rules of Conduct, you are now required to gain Mrs Smith’s written approval prior to disclosing this confidential information in relation to her current health status to anyone.

Whilst this has always been best practice and certainly confidentiality is a high priority for most Village professionals, these simple situations that were done from a place of goodwill are now are being caught up in this regulation reform!

Our Tip: Moving forward it is our suggestion that consideration be given to the following to ensure compliance with this regulation and also to be clear of the resident expectation:

  • Ensure the Village Privacy Policy is in the staff handbook and all staff have this explained at induction
  • Make confidential situations a regular agenda item on staff meeting agendas
  • Use a photo release form for any photos used in a public domain
  • Use of a Personal Information release form
  • Remind residents of their rights for privacy via Village Newsletters/Notices
  • Secure record management systems are implemented

As January rolls around these tools will be available for members on the DCM Institute website to download.

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