How to ensure your clients privacy and confidentiality is respected

How to ensure your clients privacy and confidentiality is respected


The privacy and confidentiality of their clients is a difficult issue for service providers and support workers to deal with. When working closely with (and frequently advocating for) the most vulnerable and having access to information that they may not want others to know about. To provide the greatest possible care and ensure that your clients are satisfied with your services, you must preserve their privacy and confidentiality to the best of your ability.

Clients' rights to health information are protected by the Commonwealth Privacy Act of 1988. They have the right to know how their information will be used, to make decisions about it, to control it, to know when and why it is shared, and to access and update it as needed, according to the law.

Facilitating the above can be challenging when working with clients who have disabilities, when providing mental health care, or when providing palliative or end-of-life care, facilitating the above can be difficult. If this occurs, you may need to consult with the client's family or primary caregiver to determine the best course of action.

Confidentiality can only be overridden when it adhering to it could violate the law, or cause harm to the client or others. Details regarding relationships, finances, or sexual activity don’t fall into this category.

To guarantee that you're doing everything you can to protect and preserve a patient's privacy and confidentiality, always obtain consent, and only share information with care providers on a 'need to know' basis.

If you're in a scenario where you're thinking about breaking confidentially, ask yourself these questions first:

  • Is the client objectively at risk?
  • Can the risk be verified?
  • Could the risk impact negatively on others in your care?
  • Is there any way to mitigate the risk by speaking to the client and supporting them to make their own decision?

Knowing this will help you to navigate most situations on a day-to-day basis. In terms of empowering the client to take charge of their own health information.


A breach of the duty of confidence can have several consequences. For example, it may lead to:

  • Disciplinary action by the employer of the person who made the disclosure.
  • Legal action claiming damages (compensation) against the person who made the disclosure and/or his or her employer.
  • Disciplinary proceedings under the health professional’s regulatory statute.
  • The imposition of a fine or other penalty when there is a contravention of a statutory duty of confidence.
  • Can lead to loss of business and severe reputational damages
  • Risk Management Policy Identifies

Trust is an essential component in the relationship between participants and those who work to support them. Confidentiality of the sensitive personal and health information should always be respected and maintained as a part of the role as a disability support worker. This is a topic in which having policies and procedures in place will assure clients that their personal information will be treated appropriately throughout working with your organisation. Whether you are practicing on your own, or working with employees and contractors, having policies and procedure is essential to ensure you’re acting within the legal requirements, ethically and correctly.

All policies and procedures can be purchased in our bundles, or our Privacy and Information Management Policy and Procedures can be purchased separately, this covers the following. We strongly recommend having these practices included in your business.

Managing Privacy of Participant Information Storage

- Managing Privacy and Confidentiality Requirements of Participants

- Keeping Accurate Participant Information

- Using Participant Information for Other Purposes

- Participant Access to Their Information

- Management of a Privacy Complaint