Quality Home Care’s policy on Stress and domiciliary care in n e lincs
Quality Home Care will try to ensure “so far as is reasonably practicable”, that no employee is subjected to a level of stress at work, which is detrimental to their health. The company aims to create an environment where, if work place stress does occur, it can be dealt with openly and fairly. The company also commits itself to investigate all claims of ill health due to workplace stress to ensure the appropriate action is taken to prevent any recurrence of the situation. The principal piece of legislation relevant to this subject is the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999.
If demands and pressures (stresses and stressors) become too great, they can induce in anyone, the harmful or potentially harmful mental and physical feelings and reactions known as ‘stress’. Under-demand as well as over-demand can contribute to a stress situation. It may also be affected by our fitness and resilience at the time.
Stress can have an impact on the individual at work and in their personal lives and can present itself through emotional and physical signs including anxiety, anger, depression, loss of interest, impaired sleep, raised blood pressure, tenseness, tiredness and appetite disturbance, nausea, headaches. It may also impact on employees concentration, judgement, decisiveness and motivation.
Relationships are likely to be more difficult, both at work and elsewhere. Attendance can become either excessive or extremely poor, regular bouts of recurring illnesses can occur, timekeeping can become erratic and performance can be impaired.
Possible Sources of Stress in the Workplace could include:
• Continual changes in work, lack of participation in decision making
• Lack of control over work, low pay or low status, job insecurity
• Inadequate staffing, low pay or low status, job insecurity
• Lack of facilities for rest breaks, lack of training
• Lone working, excessive working hours, shift working, excessive workload
• Inconsistent or poor management, lack of support or assistance
• Bullying, harassment, customer complaints
• Time pressures, surveillance and uncertainty about responsibilities
• Excessive noise, poor ventilation, poor lighting and equipment.
Procedure: Stress and domiciliary care in n e lincs
Quality Home Care will endeavour to manage stressful situations in the following ways:
Legislation and company policy requires that an assessment of the risks arising from work hazards be undertaken. The assessment must take include those risks which pose a threat to the psychological health as well as the physical health and safety of all employees. Quality Home Care has policies and procedures in place regarding Health and Safety and other policies designed to protect the welfare of employees. These include for example policies in the areas of Training and Development, Appraisal and Supervision, Dignity, Bullying and Harassment, Violence and Aggression, Challenging Behaviour and Whistleblowing.
Risk assessment (which must take place before any care package starts) should assess any potentially stressful situations in the same way as any other hazardous issues. Unduly stressful situations must be avoided and either the care package amended to avoid the stress or the care package (in extreme cases) should be declined.
Recruitment and selection operations must bear in mind that all employees need to understand that there is a degree of stress involved in this work. This does not mean that ‘stress is part of the job’ but people need to be able to cope with situations which require a degree of moral fibre.
• All employees will, as part of their induction training, be made to understand that their role is, in the main, task specific and that they should not seek to ‘put everything right’. If problems arise they should report them to their manager for action.
• All employees have a legal obligation to report any illness or injury, which they feel, may be caused or exacerbated by work. If an employee feels that they are, in any way, in a situation which is becoming too stressful they must seek an urgent appointment with their manager to discuss the case.
• The manager must not insist that an employee return to a situation which the employee (or anyone else) has deemed too stressful to be effectively managed.
• Should something happen in an employee’s personal life which may affect their ability to deal with situations which they would otherwise take in their stride, they should discuss this with their manager. The manager should not then place the employee in any situation where they are unlikely to cope.
• The manager shall have the responsibility to monitor the way employees are coping with their jobs and to be aware of any ways in which potentially stressful situations may occur.
Investigation of Work Related Stress Absence:
There is a legal requirement on the company to investigate all incidences of injury or illness caused or exacerbated by work. This requirement holds as equally true for psychological injury as it does for physical injury.
The line manager who receives notification that an employee’s absence is attributed to ‘work related stress’, must report it immediately to the Director or Care Manager. This will allow an immediate investigation into the circumstances relating to the injury / illness to take place. This is essential if the employee is to be prevented from returning to the same situation, which led to the initial bout of absence.
All cases will be dealt with sympathetically and in the strictest confidence. It may be necessary in certain exceptional cases for the company request access to an employee’s medical history or to involve its own medical practitioner. In such cases, the employee will be asked to sign a consent form as required by the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 enabling the company to approach the employees GP for relevant medical information that will assist the company to resolve the problem absence.
Under no circumstances will an employee suffer victimisation as a result of reporting that they are suffering from stress.
The investigation should seek to establish the following points:
• Is the absence genuinely related to stress generated in the workplace?
• What is the nature of the ‘stressors’ involved? (e.g. harassment, environmental, workloads. Professional or work relationships, etc.).
• Have existing company procedures (e.g. Grievance Procedure) been utilised where appropriate?
• Are other people affected, or likely to be affected by the absence or the situation causing the absence?
• Are the ‘stressors’ still at a level where they are likely to cause further injury?
• Have steps been put in place to eliminate, or reduce the ‘stressors’ to an acceptable level?
• Where this is not practicable, has the individuals task been re-designed to remove them from the ‘stressors’?
• Alternatively, has the individual received training to enable them to deal with the ‘stressors’?
Return to Work Strategy
There should be a return to work meeting and the ‘return to work’ strategy should take into account the results of the absence investigation. The arrangements may involve a phased return to work building up to a full return to all duties. Temporary restrictions on particular duties that have previously posed difficulties for the injured member of staff may also be need to be considered. Any training and development needs should be considered and actions put into place to address these. The plan should be monitored and reviewed and adequate supervision arrangements put in place.
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