THE WELLBRIDGE PRACTICE - CHAPERONE POLICY
Definition of a Chaperone: A person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people.
This policy is designed to protect both patients and staff from abuse or allegations of abuse and to assist patients to make an informed choice about their examinations and consultations.
The doctor must be satisfied that the chaperone will:
- be sensitive and respect the patient’s dignity and confidentiality
- reassure the patient if they show signs of distress or discomfort
- be familiar with the procedures involved in a routine intimate examination
- stay for the whole examination and be able to see what the doctor is doing, if practical
- be prepared to raise concerns if they are concerned about the doctor’s behaviour or actions.
Clinicians (male and female) should consider whether an intimate or personal examination of the patient (either male or female) is justified, or whether the nature of the consultation poses a risk of misunderstanding.
- The clinician should give the patient and the chaperone a clear explanation of what the examination will involve.
- The chaperone will always adopt a professional and considerate manner - be careful with humour as a way of relaxing a nervous situation as it can easily be misinterpreted.
- Always ensure that the patient is provided with adequate privacy to undress and dress.
- Ensure that a suitable sign is clearly on display in each consulting or treatment room offering the chaperone service if required.To remove any misunderstanding and either clinician or patient feeling uncomfortable it is normal policy to use or consider using a chaperone. Patients will always be offered the services of a chaperone for any intimate examination.Patients who request a chaperone should never be examined without a chaperone being present. If necessary, where a chaperone is not available, the consultation / examination should be rearranged for a mutually convenient time when a chaperone can be present.
WHO CAN ACT AS A CHAPERONE?
A variety of people can act as a chaperone in the practice, both clinical and non-clinical.
Where the practice determines that non-clinical staff will act in this capacity the patient must agree to the presence of a non-clinician in the examination, and be at ease with this. If the patient is not happy to have a non clinician present, and there are no nurses available, an alternative appointment should be made when a nurse or HCA can be available.
The staff member should be comfortable in acting in the role of chaperone, and be confident in the scope and extent of their role. Members of staff undertaking this role will have received training/instruction on the role of a chaperone.
All staff eligible to chaperone have been DBS checked.
The chaperone should only be present for the examination itself, and most discussion with the patient should take place while the chaperone is not present.
Patients should be reassured that all practice staff understand their responsibility not to divulge confidential information.
The clinician will ask the patient if they would like a chaperone as appropriate and record the offer in the patient’s record using code XaEiq Chaperone offered.
- If the patient declines the offer this should be recorded in the patient’s record using the code XaEis Chaperone refused.
Where no chaperone is available the examination will not take place if a chaperone has been identified as being necessary. The patient should not normally be permitted to dispense with the chaperone once a desire to have one present has been expressed.
- The chaperone will enter the room discreetly and remain in room until the clinician has finished the examination.
- The chaperone will always attend inside the curtain at the head of the examination couch and watch the procedure.
- To prevent embarrassment, the chaperone should not enter into conversation with the patient or GP unless requested to do so, or make any mention of the consultation afterwards.
- Following the examination the chaperone will remain in the room, outside the curtain, until the patient has dressed.
- Following the examination the chaperone will make a record in the patient’s notes by entering the code XaEir Chaperone present followed by text for example: examination by RM. JB present. No concerns.The record should state the name of the doctor carrying out the procedure and the initials of the chaperone. The record should confirm that there were no problems, or give clear details of any concerns or incidents that occurred.
- The patient can refuse a chaperone, and if so this must be recorded in the patient’s medical record. Concerns: If a chaperone has concerns following an examination these should be made known to the Practice Manager immediately. In the absence of the Practice Manager a detailed report outlining concerns should be written immediately after the consultation and discussed with the Practice Manager or Senior Partner as soon as possible.
Reviewed on: 30.9.19 by Practice Manager