3.2 Explain how to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

3.2 Explain how to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

Professional Practice in Health and Social Care for Adults or Children and Young People

Care Learning

6 mins READ

This guide will help you answer RQF Level 4 Diploma in Adult Care Unit 3.2 Explain how to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care.

In the field of adult care, conflicts and dilemmas often arise. Balancing an individual’s rights with the duty of care can be challenging. As lead practitioners, understanding how to manage these risks is crucial. This unit will delve into explaining strategies to manage these conflicts effectively.

The Duty of Care

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of care means legal and ethical obligations to ensure the well-being and safety of those we support. It involves providing high standards of care and preventing harm.

Importance of Duty of Care

  • Ensures Safety: Minimises risk of harm.
  • Legal Requirement: Ensures compliance with laws.
  • Professional Standard: Upholds ethical standards.

Individual’s Rights

What are Individual’s Rights?

Each person has fundamental human rights. These rights include freedom, autonomy, and the right to make choices about their own lives.

Key Rights in Adult Care

  • Autonomy: Right to make their own decisions.
  • Confidentiality: Right to privacy.
  • Equality: Right to be treated without discrimination.

Importance of Recognising Rights

  • Respect: Ensures individuals feel valued.
  • Empowerment: Encourages independence.
  • Trust: Builds a positive relationship.

Conflicts and Dilemmas

Examples of Conflicts and Dilemmas

  1. Autonomy vs Safety: A person wants to go out alone but there is a risk of harm.
  2. Confidentiality vs Protection: A person shares sensitive information, but disclosing it could prevent harm.
  3. Equality vs Special Needs: Treating everyone equally vs providing additional support to those in need.

Causes of Conflicts and Dilemmas

  • Differing Perspectives: Individual’s wishes may differ from what the carer thinks is best.
  • Resource Limitations: Constraints may make it difficult to meet everyone’s needs.
  • Complex Needs: Multiple and complicated needs may lead to conflicting priorities.

Impact of Conflicts and Dilemmas

  • Stress: Causes distress for both carers and individuals.
  • Safety Risks: Increases the likelihood of harm.
  • Trust Issues: Damages relationships if not managed properly.

Managing Risks – Strategies and Approaches

Risk Assessment

What is Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment involves identifying potential risks and evaluating their likelihood and severity.

Steps in Risk Assessment

  1. Identify Risks: Recognise potential hazards.
  2. Evaluate: Assess the risk’s severity.
  3. Control Measures: Identify ways to reduce risks.
  4. Review: Regularly revisit the risk assessments.

Involving the Individual

Importance of Involvement

Involving the individual in decision-making respects their autonomy and ensures their needs and wishes are considered.

Methods to Involve the Individual

  • Person-Centred Approach: Focus on individual’s preferences.
  • Open Communication: Discuss risks and options openly.
  • Advocacy Services: Provide support from a third party if needed.

Mediation and Negotiation

Role of Mediation

Mediation helps resolve conflicts by involving a neutral third party who facilitates discussions and negotiations between parties.

Steps in Mediation

  1. Preparation: Understand the conflict and involved parties.
  2. Facilitate Discussion: Ensure each party speaks and listens.
  3. Find Solutions: Work towards a mutually agreeable resolution.
  4. Follow-Up: Ensure the agreement is implemented.

Policies and Procedures

Importance of Policies

Having clear policies ensures consistent handling of conflicts and dilemmas.

Key Policies

  • Safeguarding: Protect individuals from harm.
  • Confidentiality: Protect private information.
  • Equality and Diversity: Promote inclusion and fair treatment.

Working with Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Cooperating with different professionals ensures comprehensive care plans that balance rights and safety.


  • Holistic View: Incorporates expertise from various fields.
  • Shared Responsibility: Distributes the burden of decision-making.
  • Better Solutions: More perspectives lead to better outcomes.

Training and Development

Importance of Training

Training equips carers with the skills to manage conflicts and dilemmas effectively.

Key Areas for Training

  • Conflict Resolution: Teach skills to handle disputes.
  • Communication Skills: Enhance ability to discuss difficult issues.
  • Legal Knowledge: Ensure understanding of laws related to rights and care.

Using Reflective Practice

What is Reflective Practice?

Reflective practice involves analysing one’s actions and decisions to learn and improve future practice.

Steps in Reflective Practice

  1. Reflect on Experience: Review what happened.
  2. Analyse: Understand what worked and what didn’t.
  3. Plan: Consider how to handle similar situations better.
  4. Implement: Apply these insights to future practice.

Example answers for unit 3.2 Explain how to manage risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

Here are some example answers for managing risks associated with conflicts and dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care from the perspective of a lead practitioner.

Understanding Duty of Care and Individual Rights

Duty of Care Explained

As a lead practitioner, my primary responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals under our care. This involves identifying potential risks and implementing measures to prevent harm. For instance, we need to conduct regular health and safety assessments in our facility. If there are any identified hazards, such as a loose carpet that could cause falls, we must act promptly to mitigate this risk by repairing or replacing it.

Recognising Individual Rights

It’s equally important to respect the rights of individuals. Every person has the right to make their own decisions, maintain confidentiality, and be treated equally. For example, if an individual prefers not to disclose their medical condition to a larger group, we must respect their privacy and share information only on a need-to-know basis.

Navigating Conflicts and Dilemmas

Example Conflict: Autonomy vs Safety

Let’s consider a common scenario where an individual wants to go out for a walk alone, but there is a significant risk due to their cognitive impairment. Here’s how I manage this conflict:

  1. Risk Assessment: I carry out a detailed risk assessment to identify specific dangers, such as crossing roads or getting lost.
  2. Involving the Individual: I engage in a conversation with the individual to understand their desires and ensure they are aware of the risks.
  3. Finding a Middle Ground: One compromise could be allowing supervised walks where staff maintain a distance to ensure safety but also respect the individual’s desire for independence.
  4. Review: Regularly re-assess the situation to ensure that the individual’s needs are being met without compromising their safety.

Example Dilemma: Confidentiality vs Protection

Consider a situation where an individual confides in me about experiencing abuse but requests that I do not tell anyone. Here’s my approach:

  1. Understanding Risks: I assess the immediate risk to the individual’s safety.
  2. Explaining Duty of Care: I explain to the individual why I have to share this information – to protect them from further harm.
  3. Safeguarding Procedures: I follow our safeguarding policy and report the matter to the relevant authorities while ensuring the individual feels supported.
  4. Maintain Confidentiality: I limit information sharing to only those directly involved in addressing the issue.

Implementing Strategies for Managing Conflicts

Risk Assessments

In my role, conducting thorough risk assessments is paramount. This involves:

  • Identifying potential hazards (e.g., is there a risk of falls or ingestion of hazardous substances?).
  • Evaluating the severity of these hazards and their likelihood.
  • Implementing control measures, such as installing handrails to prevent falls.
  • Regularly reviewing the assessments to adapt to any changes in the individual’s condition or environment.

Direct Involvement of Individuals

I consistently adopt a person-centred approach, involving individuals in decision-making. This means:

  • Open Communication: I hold regular meetings with individuals and their families to discuss their preferences and any concerns they might have.
  • Providing Information: I ensure individuals fully understand the risks and benefits of different options so they can make informed decisions.
  • Advocacy: If an individual struggles to express their views, I involve advocacy services to ensure their voice is heard.

Mediation and Negotiation

Mediation plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts. For example:

  • Preparation: Before mediation, I gather all relevant information and understand the perspectives of all parties involved.
  • Facilitate Discussion: I ensure a neutral environment where both parties can express their views.
  • Finding Solutions: I guide the discussions towards finding a middle ground that respects the individual’s rights while upholding our duty of care.
  • Follow-Up: After reaching an agreement, I monitor its implementation and make adjustments if required.

Policies and Procedures

Having robust policies and procedures in place is essential. For instance:

  • Safeguarding Policies: These ensure that any concerns about abuse or neglect are addressed promptly and appropriately.
  • Confidentiality Policies: They outline how we handle and protect individuals’ personal information.
  • Equality and Diversity Policies: Ensure that we are inclusive and fair in our approach to everyone under our care.

Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Co-operating with a multi-disciplinary team ensures a holistic approach to managing conflicts. For example:

  • Team Meetings: I organise regular multidisciplinary team meetings where inputs from nurses, social workers, therapists, and other professionals are considered.
  • Collaborative Care Plans: We develop comprehensive care plans that address all aspects of the individual’s needs.
  • Shared Responsibility: By involving various professionals, we share the decision-making responsibility, ensuring better outcomes for individuals.

Training and Reflective Practice

I ensure my team is well-trained and engages in reflective practice, which includes:

  • Training Programs: Regular training sessions on conflict resolution, communication skills, and legal knowledge.
  • Reflective Practice: Encouraging staff to reflect on their experiences, discuss what worked and what didn’t, and how they can improve. Regular debriefing sessions allow us to address any challenges faced and learn from them.


Balancing an individual’s rights and the duty of care is a nuanced process. By adopting risk assessments, involving individuals in decisions, utilising mediation, having clear policies, working with multi-disciplinary teams, providing proper training, and engaging in reflective practice, lead practitioners can effectively manage these conflicts and dilemmas. This ensures the safety and well-being of those in their care while respecting their autonomy and rights.

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