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Annie 3rd Sep 2011

Posted on the Forum

Jenny, this is a hard one. Professionally, residents have the right to privacy: to keep information about themselves from being disclosed: only they can decide who, when and where to share their health information with. Confidentiality is how health care staff treats private information once it has been disclosed to us or others. It is an ethical dilemma which puts the staff member in a tenuous position when a resident sincerely would like to know how their friend is. Unofficially of course, there is always non-verbal communication. Personally, I think all private health information is on a ‘need to know’ basis only: ask yourself if the resident really ‘wants’ to know; ‘needs’ to know or ‘has a right’ to know. It also depends on the length of stay in hospital as residents usually work things out themselves. There may be a legal informed consent form to allow the release of information to other parties, but I’m sure that’s for the benefit of third parties only involved in the health care of the resident. Any other comments?

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