1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Answers and Guides

Care Learning

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This guide will help you answer the RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

Let’s delve into how a duty of care relates to the duty of candour within the health and social care sector.

Duty of Care

The duty of care is a fundamental concept that underpins all roles within health and social care. Essentially, it means that care workers have a legal and ethical obligation to provide consistent and high-quality care, ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals in their care. This involves:

  • Preventing harm: Actively working to prevent harm or injury to those receiving care.
  • Providing a safe environment: Ensuring the physical environment and actions taken by the care provider do not cause harm.
  • Respecting autonomy: Upholding the individuals’ rights to make informed choices about their care.
  • Professional competence: Delivering care that aligns with established best practices, guidelines, and professional standards.

What is Duty of Candour?

The duty of candour is a statutory obligation placed on health and social care providers, requiring them to be open, honest, and transparent with individuals (or their families) when something goes wrong with their care that causes, or has the potential to cause, harm. Key elements include:

  • Openness: Clear, truthful communication about incidents that have occurred.
  • Apology: Offering a sincere apology when things go wrong.
  • Explanation: Providing a factual account of what happened, why it happened, and what steps are being taken to prevent future occurrences.
  • Commitment to improvement: Demonstrating a commitment to learning from incidents and implementing changes to enhance care quality.

Relationship between Duty of Care and Duty of Candour

  1. Ethical Alignment: Both duties emphasise the ethical responsibility of care workers to prioritise the individual’s well-being. Duty of care mandates the delivery of safe, effective care, while duty of candour ensures continuous improvement through transparency and accountability.
  2. Safety and Trust: Duty of care ensures safety by preventing harm, and duty of candour builds trust through honest communication when issues arise. Together, they foster a culture of safety and trust between care providers and recipients.
  3. Holistic Approach: Duty of care requires anticipating and mitigating risks, while duty of candour handles the repercussions when risks materialise. This comprehensive approach ensures that individuals are well-protected and well-informed.
  4. Professional Standards: Adhering to these duties ensures compliance with professional standards and regulatory requirements, such as those set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
  5. Quality Improvement: Both duties drive continuous quality improvement within care services. Duty of care focuses on the proactive aspect, ensuring high standards are met, and duty of candour addresses reactive measures, learning from mistakes to prevent recurrence.

Practical Implementation in Daily Practice

To integrate these duties into daily practice, care workers should:

  • Follow policies and guidelines: Ensure they understand and adhere to their organisation’s policies regarding duty of care and duty of candour.
  • Risk assessment and management: Regularly conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement strategies to mitigate them.
  • Effective communication: Maintain clear and open communication with service users about their care, any risks involved, and actions taken to safeguard them.
  • Report and learn from incidents: When errors occur, follow the protocols for reporting and take part in investigatory and learning processes.
  • Training and development: Engage in ongoing professional development to stay abreast of best practices and updates in care standards.

By embodying the principles of duty of care and duty of candour, care workers not only fulfil their professional responsibilities but also contribute to a safer, more trustworthy health and social care system.

Example Answers for Unit 1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

Below are example answers from the perspective of a care worker, illustrating how the duty of care relates to the duty of candour.

These responses are based on realistic scenarios you might encounter in your role.

Example 1: Medication Error

Q: How have you adhered to the duty of care and duty of candour in your practice, particularly in the context of a medication error?


“During my evening shift, I was responsible for administering medication to the residents. While dispensing medication to Mrs Smith, I inadvertently gave her the wrong dose. Immediately upon realising my mistake, I took the following steps to adhere to both my duty of care and duty of candour:

Duty of Care:

  1. I promptly informed the on-call nurse and my line manager about the error.
  2. I monitored Mrs Smith closely for any adverse reactions and ensured she was comfortable and safe.
  3. I documented the incident accurately in her care records, noting the error and the steps taken thereafter.

Duty of Candour:

  1. I informed Mrs Smith about the mistake in a clear, honest, and respectful manner. I explained what went wrong, the potential impact, and the immediate actions being taken to ensure her safety.
  2. I apologised sincerely for the error, acknowledging the distress it might have caused her.
  3. I supported the nurse and manager in explaining to her family what had happened and what corrective measures were being put in place to prevent recurrence.
  4. I took part in a review meeting focused on learning from this incident, where we discussed improving our medication administration procedures and additional training for staff.

By being open and honest, I maintained Mrs Smith’s trust in our care service and showed our commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.”

Example 2: Incident of a Fall

Q: Can you provide an example where you upheld the duty of care and duty of candour when a resident sustained a fall?


“During a morning shift, I found Mr John on the floor next to his bed; he had apparently fallen while trying to reach for his walking frame. Here’s how I approached the situation, adhering to my duty of care and duty of candour:

Duty of Care:

  1. I immediately assessed Mr John for injuries and provided first aid as trained, while another colleague called for the nurse.
  2. I made sure Mr John was comfortable and reassured him while waiting for further medical evaluation.
  3. After the nurse arrived and confirmed he had not sustained serious injuries, I helped document the incident comprehensively, including the potential causes and our observations.

Duty of Candour:

  1. I explained to Mr John what happened step-by-step, ensuring he was aware of the situation and the care he was receiving.
  2. I apologised to Mr John for the distress and inconvenience caused by the fall.
  3. I notified his family promptly, giving them a full account of the incident, our initial response, and the ongoing steps we were taking to ensure his safety.
  4. Participated in a team meeting to review the incident, where we discussed possible improvements in fall prevention strategies, such as ensuring walking aids are always within easy reach and enhancing our fall risk assessment protocols.

Through these actions, we not only addressed Mr John’s immediate needs but also worked on systemic changes to improve overall care quality, ensuring that we learn and evolve from such incidents.”

Example 3: Inadequate Nutrition Monitoring

Q: Describe a situation where your adherence to the duty of care led to the identification of a lapse in care, and how you used the duty of candour to address it.


“As part of my routine checks, I noticed that Mrs Jones, a resident with dietary restrictions for diabetes, had not been receiving the correct nutritional intake for the past couple of days. Here’s how I managed the situation:

Duty of Care:

  1. I immediately flagged the issue to the senior care worker and dietitian to reassess Mrs Jones’s dietary needs and intake records.
  2. I double-checked all care plans and food logs to find where the mistake had occurred, ensuring that corrective actions were taken immediately.
  3. I worked with the kitchen staff to ensure all future meals met her specific nutritional requirements accurately.

Duty of Candour:

  1. I spoke to Mrs Jones and informed her about the oversight in her diet plan. I explained the implications of not adhering to her dietary needs, particularly given her diabetes.
  2. I offered a heartfelt apology for the mistake and reassured her that measures were being taken to rectify and prevent it from happening again.
  3. I contacted Mrs Jones’s family, gave them a comprehensive overview of the situation, and explained our commitment to preventing such lapses in the future.
  4. Our team conducted a thorough investigation and shared our findings with all staff, stressing the importance of accurate meal planning and record-keeping. We also implemented new checks and balances to ensure dietary plans are closely followed.

Through these actions, we reinforced our commitment to both ethical responsibilities, ensuring we maintain a high standard of care and transparency.”

These examples show practical applications of the duty of care and duty of candour, emphasising how both duties complement each other in providing high-quality, transparent care within health and social care settings.

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