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Equality and diversity is an essential part of every care establishment.
So what exactly is equality and diversity in adult care, and why is it so important?
Equality is the practice of making sure everyone is treated the same, regardless of their personal characteristics. These include race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, among others.
This means every care client has equal opportunity to access the same high standard of care as their peers, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Diversity, on the other hand, is about recognising the differences between people, whether this is race, gender, religion or belief. Staff should also acknowledge the positive value of these differences.
In care, this means taking account of clients’ individual needs based on their characteristics. Creating an inclusive environment by tailoring care to each resident will help clients feel valued, recognised and accommodated.
Lack of equality and diversity in adult care leads to discrimination, prejudice, and a client’s loss of individuality. It creates an unacceptable situation where clients are not given the quality of care they deserve.
For example, a recent government report found that the LGBTQ+ community were constantly let down in care. Care was not designed to include them, but rather aimed at heteronormative people.
As such, care providers must strive to place equality and diversity in the workplace at the heart of everything they do from day to day.
What laws protect equality and diversity in adult care?
There are four key laws in place to stop discrimination in adult social care. These are:
This act makes it illegal for people to discriminate against an individual based on the following ‘protected’ characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Religion or belief
- Pregnancy and maternity
This act ensures that public organisations including the Government, police and local councils must treat everyone ‘equally, with fairness, dignity and respect’.
It also permits people to challenge inequality in court.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects vulnerable people when it comes to making decisions.
It champions ‘every adult’s right to make their own decisions wherever possible’, helping them retain as much control as possible over decisions that affect them.
Therefore, this act prevents assumptions and discrimination based on mental capacity.
This act is centred upon placing people’s wellbeing at the forefront of decisions, championing personalisation of care to the individual.
Equality and diversity in adult care in practice
Equality and diversity forms part of the ‘Is it effective?’ key lines of enquiry from the Care Quality Commission.
They ask: ‘What processes are in place to ensure there is no discrimination, including in relation to protected characteristics under the Equality Act, when making care and support decisions?’
Consider the following areas where discrimination could arise, and how to avoid it:
Sexuality and gender identity
The LGBTQ+ community refers to those with lesbian, gay or bisexual sexual orientations, transgender and queer/questioning gender identities, while the + refers to other minority sexualities and identities.
Gender identity concerns personal identification. An individual may identify as male, female, neither male nor female (non-binary), a mixture of male and female (bigender), or one of the many other gender expressions.
How can you prevent homophobia or discrimination in care?:
- Staff should be taught to never assume anything about a client’s sexuality. For example, they should never assume heteronormativity
- Staff should understand the sexual minority terms that come under ‘+’, so they can recognise them and accommodate them
- Never stereotype clients. For example, if a client identifies as gay do not assume this means they will naturally have particular traits or interests
- Constantly monitor the language you use and consider if it might be offensive to certain groups of people
- Respect and encourage clients’ expression of identity through their appearance
People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have been shown to receive poorer care than other racial demographics.
Train your staff to challenge potential assumptions or unconscious bias around racial minorities, which could affect the care they give.
For example, one study found staff missed the opportunity to talk about depression with Black and Caribbean residents because they assumed they would not want to consider the possibility of being depressed.
The care you provide will vary from person to person based on their individual religious beliefs.
For example, some religions forbid certain practices like blood transfusions, some require help adhering to prayer schedules, and others need considerations of religious holidays to be taken into account.
To stop the potential for misunderstandings, consider training your staff thoroughly to recognise, respect and support clients with different beliefs.
Consider how you can make all the necessary accommodations for all disabilities in your provision of care. For example, for those with reduced vision, can you provide materials in braille?
Try not to make judgements about clients based on their age.
For example, you should not assume that because a client is over the age of 90 that they will struggle to remember things they have been told.
So, how can you promote equality and diversity in your care organisation?
- Create an organisation diversity and inclusion policy (if there isn’t already one in place) and make sure other policies and procedures are non-discriminatory
- Make learning and development around diversity and inclusion a priority. Train everyone on your team in the legislation attached to equality and diversity. Make sure they understand its principles and are able to deploy it in practice
- Provide staff a designated equality and diversity ambassador who they can approach, or online systems to report other employees
- Promote a non-judgemental policy whereby employees will not allow their own beliefs to affect their work
- Encourage reflective practice in your workplace. Employees can consider their behaviour, reflect on any unconscious bias they may hold, and find places to improve
- Respect individual requirements and develop tailored care plans
How can uRosterCare help to promote equality and diversity in adult care?
uRosterCare’s person-centered electronic care planning allows clients to share life stories, hobbies of interest and everything that is important to them, highlighting their individual requirements.
Clients have the ability to leave voice notes explaining/sharing what they want to, in their own words.
The system also allows you to capture events, allocate staff to days out or trips that the clients would like to take. You, the provider, will have the ability to personalise and add the names of all the types of visits you offer.
Equality and diversity in adult care: a conclusion
It is essential that care providers know the laws protecting against discrimination, have equality and diversity policies, and put systems in place for training staff to treat every race, gender, or other minority group equally.
uRosterCare’s person-centered electronic care planning helps you understand clients’ individual requirements, to put equality and diversity at the heart of your care organisation.
Get in touch today to see how uRosterCare could benefit you.Contact Us
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