The importance of policies in health and social care

A health and social care policy is a written set of instructions on how a health worker or medical professional is to carry out a specific activity. A policy usually guides a staff member through assisting service users with eating, drinking or administering medication. Policies in health and social care are vital for protecting patients and the people you care for and ensuring that your health organization is acting as per the law.

Examples of health and social care policies include:

  • Employee health policies.
  • Patient care policies.
  • Drug policies.
  • Privacy and security policies.
  • Policies that require people to be served healthy foods.
  • Policies that allow people to attend health programs.
  • Policies that prohibit smoking and drinking at the workplace.

The policies mentioned above are critical for any healthcare facility as they help lay out all the processes that patients get to see. In addition, they give patients and the general public a better view of your health facility. An organization is also perceived as competent if it provides staff with clear and precise instructions regarding its operations.

Why should health facilities have policies?

A hospital’s procedures and policies help hold staff members responsible when caring for patients. As a result, they normalize practices across health facilities and ensure that the same level of care is provided to all patients. Below are some reasons why policies are important in health and social care.

To address HR and administrative issues

The administrative and health department is concerned with running a healthcare facility from a business and personal perspective. This is because a healthcare organization is still a business. Policies regarding dress code, vacations, shifts and patient visitation can go a long way in streamlining concerns and assisting the administration in running its operations efficiently.

To protect patients’ privacy and the interest of the facility

What should staff members post on their social media accounts within and outside work? Implementing a written social media policy is imperative to protect and address patients’ privacy and the interests of the facility.

The written policy should spell out the dos and don’ts for all employees who work in the facility. As such, it should outline details about online conduct, security requirements, the use of official accounts, and disclaimers.

Outlining these details in a written policy can prevent future scandals if a member uses offensive language on social media. This is especially true when an employee shares confidential information about the facility.

To keep employees informed of best practices and regulations

Health workers are more likely to contract infectious diseases than workers in any other industry. The importance of having a contagious disease policy comes into play at this point. Essentially, this policy keeps all your health workers abreast of the best practices for handling infectious diseases, including medieval diseases.

You can develop these skills with the help of an online nurse practitioner program leading to a master’s of nursing degree such as the one offered by Texas Woman’s University. You’ll learn clinical instruction, quality and safety skills, communication, and more.

As a rule, employers are legally liable for anyone infected in the line of duty at work. Moreover, your organization is protected from liability as healthcare workers know their safety.

Below are some of the significant steps in developing an infectious disease policy:

  • Point out the risks that are known.
  • Plan for unknown risks.
  • Implement a communication plan.
  • Delegate roles.
  • Adhere to laws and regulations.
  • Train your health and social workers.

To administer medication

As you may already know, most healthcare facilities do not provide in-house medicines. Some carry painkillers, and others have regulated and controlled medications. Whichever the case, implementing clear policies on the way that your organization should administer medication can safeguard your facility in case of errors.

To handle security-related issues

It’s often said that the key to security is public information. In essence, security should be everyone’s responsibility. It is a promise that you and your colleagues shouldn’t break.

Regardless of whether your healthcare facility maintains a security team, you must equip all your employees with the right information on security matters. In the case of a security breach, they will therefore know how to handle the situation.

The consequences of not having policies

A lack of policies in any organization may adversely affect the organization’s daily operations. Additionally, it puts the organization at risk of experiencing inconsistencies, accountability concerns and time wastage.

In a nutshell, if you intend to keep everything organized and up to date in your health facility, implementing policies is the first thing to do. Also, the help of a policy management solution can go a long way in helping you save time and money by offering your health facility cloud-based solutions to help keep potential threats at bay.