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Privacy

Guideline:

The organization protects, promotes and enables people’s right to privacy and dignity.

What does this look like?

The organization has policies and procedures that comply with applicable privacy regulation or legislation and that acknowledges that primary responsibility to the person to control their information and direct who it is shared with. This policy outlines exceptions when information may be shared without the person’s consent or knowledge. The policy outlines any parameters or restrictions on information that should or should not be shared with family members of people served including the requirements for communication when family act as Substitute Decision Makers under the Vulnerable Persons Act (VPA).

The organization considers and strives to balance people’s right to privacy with the need for record keeping as a requirement for accountability and good service delivery. The organization ensures that documentation is respectful, enhancing, and available to people.

People have access to private spaces within their home. Staff knock before entering people’s home and bedrooms. People have the opportunity to have a key to their home. People have the opportunity to keep their belongings in a private space separate from others that no other person enters, uses or intrudes upon without their expressed permission.

People have the opportunities to be alone. When this is limited due to safety or health concerns this restriction is reviewed regularly and formally while the person is supported to gain skills in order to reduce the need for this support.

While privacy and dignity are respected at all times, particular attention is paid to:

  • Receiving visitors
  • Personal communications such as mail and telephone calls
  • Expressions of intimacy and sexuality
  • Communications with social workers, health care professionals and clinicians
  • The provision of intimate and personal care and support
  • Circumstances where confidential and/or sensitive information is being discussed

People are provided information on how to gain privacy in their workplace.

People’s records are kept secure however the person has been provided information about their right to see these records and how to access them.

Privacy is not used as a reason for poor communication within or between service agencies that support the person.

Employees are trained in how to protect and honour people’s right to privacy and to control information that pertains to them. 

People, their families and decision makers receive information upon entering the organization’s service about their policies on privacy, what control they have over information and what situations may lead to information being shared without their knowledge or consent.

People are supported to protect the information that they do not want to share inside or outside the organization. 

How would you know this is happening? (Evidence)

What you see in systems:

Written policy/procedure/statement on the organization’s commitment people’s privacy is available.

Information about people’s right to privacy is available, is clearly stated in ways in which people can understand, and is discussed regularly.

There is a system for storing and safeguarding information that ensures that people still have access to their own information (record keeping, file management).

What you see in actions:

People are aware that they can access and decide who sees their information along with any exceptions to this practice such as emergency situations, etc. 

Staff are respectful and vigilant about protecting people’s privacy without letting it impact communication and support especially when multiple organizations are involved.

Staff knock before entering people’s space and ask before sharing information.

Families are clear on in advance when and how they can gain information about their loved ones and what restrictions there may be to this.

People are satisfied that their privacy and dignity are maintained.

Resources to support achieving guideline:

Manitoba Privacy Act – https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/p125e.php

Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) – https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/p033-5e.php

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) – https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/f175e.php

Manitoba Ombudsman – https://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/

Related Guidelines:

Informed Consent & Supported Decision Making

Intimate Personal Care & Support

Sexual Health

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