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This Policy summarises the procedure to be followed when a Care Worker exercises his / her right to refuse to attend or work with a particular service user:


1. It is the policy of the Organisation that care staff will be adequately trained to enable a fully flexible care service to be offered to a wide range of service users. Thus Care Workers will be expected to provide a care service to any service user allocated to them.

2. It is also recognised that there can be circumstances when the Care Worker has the right to refuse to provide a service. This will normally be when the Care Worker feels at risk within the service user’s domestic environment. This Policy will address the action to be taken in these circumstances.


1. The Care Worker may feel at risk or unduly vulnerable within a service user’s domestic environment for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Challenging behaviour from the service user, reference Policy No 4103.

  • Adverse sanitation / hygiene issues, or where Infection Control standards are compromised.

  • Pest infestations.

  • Dangerous animals or pets potentially out of control.

2. Risk management:

2.1 Where there are potential risks from the service user, for example as a result of the service user’s medical condition, management will first ensure that the Care Worker understands the condition and what, if any, are the associated risks. They should provide information about infection control and safety procedures, and arrange for relevant specialist training as appropriate. This will be recorded in the Care Worker’s Training Records.

2.2 Staff subjected to actual physical violence will leave the premises as quickly as possible and the situation reported as a Violent Incident, ref Form No 3-703. For future service delivery management will consider the option of “doubling up” of staff (sending in pairs) and providing appropriate guidance and support. The service user / advocate will be informed that the ultimate sanction of complete withdrawal of the care service exists in the event of continued unacceptable behaviour, reference Policy No 4305.

2.3 Management will encourage Care Workers to discuss their anxieties, in order to assist in devising and planning strategies for minimising risks and for working safely in the domiciliary environment.

3. Provided that these procedures are carried out correctly there should be no further grounds for a Care Worker to refuse to provide a Care Service. In support of this the Organisation’s management will reinforce the Care Worker’s position to the service user.

4. Continued Refusal by the Care Worker:

4.1 If abuse from a service user is specific and personal to a particular Care Worker, and the appropriate procedures identified in this Policy have been taken, then consideration must be given to re-allocating the care service to other Care Workers (reference Policy No 3010).

4.2 If all appropriate steps have been taken to minimise the risks but the Care Worker continues to refuse to work with the service user, the Care Worker’s manager will interview them and explain that continued refusal could be a matter for disciplinary action. This will be confirmed in writing to the Care Worker.


Form No: 3-703 Record of Violent Incident

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