Protecting human rights in health and social care settings

HIQA is carrying out a national public consultation on its Draft Guidance on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Care and Support in Health and Social Care Settings.

Human rights are protected under Irish and international law. While much of the work of staff in health and social care settings does observe human rights, there remains a lack of understanding about how human rights apply in their day-to-day work.

In conjunction with Safeguarding Ireland, HIQA has developed guidance to support staff in delivering care and support that protects, promotes and supports the human rights of people using health and social care services. It will also assist staff in the implementation of national standards.

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Rachel Flynn, HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, said, ‘For many people working in health and social care services, a human rights-based approach already underpins many of their day-to-day decisions, for example in relation to staffing levels, physical restraint, personal care and end-of-life decisions. However, staff are often not aware that such decisions have human rights implications.’

A human rights-based approach to health and social care ensures that human rights are protected in practice and are embedded in the culture of a service. This ensures that people are treated with fairness, respect, dignity and equality, have a say over their lives and participate as fully as possible in decisions about their care and support.

Rachel Flynn continued, ‘It is important that staff in health and social care settings are aware of and understand what a human rights-based approach is. The guidance aims to support services to understand and implement this approach in their daily work through providing practical information and real-life examples under the principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy.’

HIQA has invited members of the public to provide feedback on the draft guidance. The deadline for submissions is 5pm, Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

Further information on the draft guidance and the consultation, including how to make a submission, at www.hiqa.ie