1.1 Define the term ‘duty of care’

1.1 Define the term ‘duty of care’

RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Answers and Guides

Care Learning

3 mins READ

This guide will help you answer the RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 1.1 Define the term ‘duty of care’. It’s essential to understand the foundational concepts that underpin your practice. One of the most critical terms you’ll encounter is “duty of care.”

Duty of care is a fundamental concept in health and social care, referring to the legal and ethical obligation to ensure the well-being and safety of others. It requires care workers to act in the best interests of those they support, while also taking steps to prevent harm and protect individuals from potential risks.

What is Duty of Care?

1. Legal Obligation:

Duty of care is enshrined in law, particularly through legislations such as the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Act 2014, and various health and safety regulations. These laws establish that care providers have a legal responsibility to uphold the highest standards of care.

2. Ethical Consideration:

From an ethical perspective, duty of care aligns with principles such as beneficence (doing good), non-maleficence (avoiding harm), respect, and dignity. Care workers must consistently prioritise the well-being of individuals in their care, treat them with respect, and advocate for their rights.

3. Risk Management:

An important aspect of fulfilling a duty of care is the identification, assessment, and management of potential risks. This involves carrying out risk assessments, implementing care plans, and taking proactive steps to minimise hazards. For example, you might need to ensure that environments are safe and that individuals have support to manage their conditions.

4. Professional Conduct:

Adhering to a duty of care means maintaining professional standards and following policies, procedures, and best practices. This includes adequate training, regular supervision, and continuous professional development to ensure that practices remain current and effective.

5. Accountability:

Care workers are accountable not only to the individuals they support but also to their employers, regulatory bodies, and, ultimately, to the broader society. This accountability ensures that care practice is transparent and that care workers are held to account for their actions.

Examples in Practice:

  • Protection from Harm: If you notice that an older person in your care shows signs of neglect or abuse, your duty of care requires you to take immediate action. This might involve reporting the situation to a safeguarding officer or relevant authority.
  • Promoting Well-being: Ensuring individuals receive appropriate medical attention, nutrition, and social engagement is part of your duty of care. For instance, assisting a client in accessing community resources or medical appointments is an actionable aspect.
  • Informed Consent: Respecting the autonomy of individuals by obtaining informed consent before undertaking any care activities is vital. This means explaining procedures and ensuring the person understands and agrees to them.
  • Record Keeping: Accurate and confidential record-keeping is necessary to protect individuals’ information and keep track of their care plans and needs.


The term ‘duty of care’ encapsulates a broad range of responsibilities aimed at ensuring that those receiving care are treated with dignity, respect, and the highest standards of safety and professionalism. By adhering to this duty, care workers play a vital role in promoting the overall health and well-being of individuals within the care system.

Understanding and applying the principles of duty of care in your daily practice will not only enhance the quality of life for those you support but also ensure that you are fulfilling your professional and ethical obligations effectively.

Example Answers for Unit 1.1 Define the term ‘duty of care’

Duty of care is the responsibility we have as care workers to ensure that our actions—or inactions—do not cause harm to the people we support. It entails performing our duties to the highest standards possible to protect individuals’ physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

In my experience as a care worker, duty of care means being vigilant and proactive. For example, I always carry out thorough risk assessments for each of my clients, taking into consideration their specific health conditions and personal circumstances. One instance involved identifying that a client’s medication was causing side effects that increased the risk of falls. I promptly reported this to my supervisor and worked with the medical team to adjust the medication, preventing potential injury.

Duty of care involves promoting a client’s independence and autonomy. For example, I always encourage and assist my clients to take part in social activities and decide about their own care plans. This not only meets their immediate needs but also contributes to their long-term well-being.

Ultimately, fulfilling the duty of care means building a trusting relationship, where clients feel valued and safe, knowing they are in compassionate and competent hands.**

This example answer can be adapted and expanded based on your personal experiences, understanding, and the specific requirements of your assessment criteria. They should help you convey a comprehensive understanding of the concept of duty of care within the health and social care context.

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