How familiar are you with the College’s new Standards of Practice?
Standards of Practice are essential to ensure quality care is provided to all Albertans by all healthcare professions. These Standards not only provide direction to regulated members in the provision of care but also explain elements of care that patients and the public can expect in their professional interactions with regulated members.
The College’s Standards of Practice (or SoPs) were recently completely rewritten and released in July 2021. These Standards expanded on many areas that the former version did not include – and they now provide a lot more detail on the expectations of care that is to be delivered by regulated members.
Standard 2.0: Patient Relationship is a very significant Standard, as there are many elements of the patient-provider relationship that are expected in the course of treatment. This Standard should be read and understood by all regulated members, as well as patients. The seven sections are:
- Privacy and Confidentiality
- Informed Consent
- Implied Consent
- Disclosure of Harm
- Defining Regulated Member-Patient Relationship
- Professional Boundaries
- Regulated Member-Subordinate (non-patient) Relationships
- Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Involving a Patient
Privacy and Confidentiality details the requirements a regulated member must uphold to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality. This includes adherence to legislation, appropriately accessing and disclosing information, and maintaining the integrity of a patient’s information.
Consent defines the information that must be shared with a patient to receive consent. In the world of paramedicine there are two types of consent, informed and implied. This Standard defines the requirements for informed consent and explains the scenarios for implied consent.
Disclosure of Harm outlines the information a regulated member must share with a patient about a treatment option. Disclosure of harm is important in ensuring patients (the public) understand what they can expect from the healthcare services delivered to them.
Defining Regulated Patient-Provider Relationship defines when a person becomes a patient and what is permitted to transpire between a provider and patient. The imbalance of power created through the patient-provider relationship must be properly managed.
Professional Boundaries this Standard deals with both physical and emotional boundaries that a regulated member must create and respect. This includes appropriate coverage during treatment, but also being respectful of a patient’s experiences including culture, age, values and experiences with trauma.
Regulated Member-Subordinate (non-patient) Relationships contains information about how to manage the relationship created between a regulated member who is acting in their professional capacity, but the interaction is not with a patient. For example, a non-patient relationship could be with a student, employee or preceptor.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Involving a Patient this is the College’s longest SoP as it contains information on how a regulated member must not engage in any sexual abuse or sexual misconduct involving a patient. The Standard is very detailed and must be understood by all regulated members. Additional training on the prevention of sexual abuse and misconduct is also provided to all applicants before they can become regulated members of the College.
It is expected that Standards will be followed in conjunction with the Code of Ethics; which details more high-level, overarching ethical conduct requirements of regulated members as they interact with patients and the public in their professional capacity.
We encourage everyone to read through the new Standards of Practice to learn more. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please email communications@ABparamedics.com.