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Learn More: Dignity of Risk

In this guide:

Dignity of risk is a term used to describe the principle that individuals, including elderly persons receiving care, have the right to make choices, even if they carry a potential for harm or danger. It recognises that everyone has the right to take risks and make mistakes as a natural part of life, as long as they are not endangering others.

Why is it important?

In aged care, it is important to respect dignity of risk because it helps promote independence, autonomy, and quality of life for elderly individuals. Allowing elderly individuals to make choices and take risks can help to preserve a sense of self and dignity, and can also help to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Making decisions in everyday life involves an element of risk. Everyone has a right to make their own choices.

Why do we need to acknowledge it?

While it’s important to respect dignity of risk, it is also important to ensure the safety of elderly individuals. Aged care providers must balance the right of elderly individuals to take risks with the need to keep them safe. This can be achieved by carefully assessing the risks involved in a particular situation, and by implementing measures to minimise the risks where possible.

Addressing legal and ethical concerns:

Aged Care providers must ensure customers rights are protected and that their decisions are made voluntarily and with informed consent. This can be complicated by legal and ethical considerations, such as the customers capacity to make decisions, conflicts between the customers wishes and their best interests, and potential liability for the home care provider.

Supporting dignity of risk.

You are the ultimate decision maker for your own care.  If something you want to do involves some risk to you (or someone you act on behalf of), we will work with you to understand these risks and manage them so that you can make an informed choice.

Under the Aged Care Quality Standards we are required to recognise and respect your unique identity, culture, social connections, wellbeing and  needs.

We will document the potential risks associated with a customer’s decision, communicate these risks, and establish a review process.

Examples include:

  • Purchasing of equipment that may lead to injury if not used correctly – such as reclining chairs, mobility scooters, heaters
  • Choosing to stay at home despite increasing care needs
  • Making choices about not receiving treatment or purchasing equipment – even if this may result in negative outcome

More information:

Refer to Quality Standard 1: Consumer dignity and choice

My Aged Care Home Care Package Manual

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