Duty of Care

What you need to know

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1. What is “duty of care”

Within different contexts, the statement “duty of care” has different interpretations, and is often poorly defined. In workplace health and safety, a duty of care can relate to a duty holder’s obligations to ensure the health and safety of workers, who in turn have obligations to comply and cooperate.

More broadly the term is defined as an obligation to responsible care to avoid injury to a person where it can be reasonably foreseen they may be injured by an act or omission.

What that means is that in a healthcare environment there is a responsibility for all workers to take reasonable steps to ensure clients or consumers are:

    1. Safe
    2. Unharmed
    3. Protected from abuse
    4. Receive a standard of care and treatment that is evidence-based
    5. Receive a quality of care and treatment that complies with standards of practice in a healthcare environment. A duty of care could also be related to legislative requirements, for example, the legal obligation to report concerns such as child safety.

2. Why”

Consumers have a right to expet that health professionals providing services do so in a competent manner meeting best practice standards. Provisions on competency and best practice are addressed within guidelines such as Codes of Conduct. Codes articulate the fundamental principles of ethical behavior expected to be demonstrated. Below those principles, codes provide a set of values that enable us to demonstrate the ethical principles. Both principles and values are equally important. Standards of conduct or practice help us to understand how we put these principles and values into practice.

    1. By providing a basis for the required standard
    2. Informing professionals of what the required standard is
    3. Informing the community of the standard
    4. Providing professionals with a basis for decision making regarding professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct
    5. Act to guide professionals in formal or informal resolution of ethical violations

3. Application to Yoga”

Some health professionals are regulated under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Yoga teachers are considered unregistered health professionals along with other modalities such as aromatherapists, naturopaths and ayurvedic, shiatsu and reiki practitioners. These unregistered health professionals formulate their own Standards of Practice which are based on ethics and codes of conduct and are held as legal documents.

Yoga Australia has a Code of Professional Conduct based on yogic ethics, that informs yoga students and the community of the level of professional behavior required of Yoga Australia members.

Please take time to familiarise yourself with this document.

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1.2.5 of the Yoga Australia Code of Professional Conduct states, “on issues relating to duty of care, report any concerns they have for the safety and well-being of their student to the relevant emergency support.”

Important things to do

Keep the below contacts in a convenient place for you. You may offer these contact to the student or offer to phone for help on their behalf

www.lifeline.org.au ph: 13 11 14

www. suicidecallbackservice.org.au ph: 1300 65 9467

www.kidshelp.com.au ph: 1800 551 800

www.mensline.org.au ph: 1300 789 978

For any physical or mental health crisis you may choose to call for an ambulance. If the situation is not an emergency please know that you can contact the Yoga Australia Office (1300 881 451) and we will assist you on how to proceed with reporting.

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