Services will be delivered in a manner which respects the right of person’s served. Kootenay Family Place employees are responsible to ensure the protection of those rights. Complaints, concerns, or grievances will be dealt with in an open, courteous, and efficient manner.
Agency staff will be provided with an orientation to the client rights during their probationary employment period, and required to become familiar with Agency Policies and Procedures. Each staff member has the responsibility to ensure, through ethical and professional conduct, that client rights are respected, and that the necessary steps are taken to protect the confidentiality of client files and other client specific information.
Purpose of Policy:
To ensure that all persons served have a clear understanding of their rights, Kootenay Family Place will communicate and share these rights in a manner that is meaningful to each individual. These rights will be shared prior to the beginning of, or at the initiation of service delivery and be reviewed annually if persons served are in a program for longer than one year.
The Rights of Persons Served will be available for review and clarification at all times. During the intake process, person’s served will be asked to read and sign a copy of this policy. This form will be kept in the central client file. Each agency program will identify and address the unique and specific issues of the persons served to ensure and support their engagement in their individualized service plans. Kootenay Family Place policies and procedures will reflect promotion of the following rights of the persons served:
All Clients have the right to:
- be treated fairly and respectfully;
- confidentiality of information;
- freedom from abuse, exploitation, retaliation, humiliation and neglect;
- a clear, supported complaint process (see Client Handbook & Policy & Procedure Manual);
- refuse services from KFP (the refusal of services does not preclude individuals from accessing services from KFP in the future);
- receive services in a manner that is non-coercive and protects the clients right to self-determination; and
- have families and/or legal guardians participate in decision making.
Kootenay Family Place is committed to the goal of affecting individual change amongst our clients, recognizing the unique capacities and strengths of each person. In working with clients KFP will respect and acknowledge individual diversity such as (but not limited to):
- sexual orientation
- spiritual beliefs
- socioeconomic status
The demographic make-up of KFP clients is by and large made up of English speaking clients. In the event that there is a need for non-English interpretation we have designated staff who speak Russian, Portuguese and German. These staff will be utilized for translation purposes. Attempts will be made to acquire an interpreter for other languages.
Persons with Special Needs:
The vast majority of our clients with special needs are aged 0-6 years. For clients or participants with special needs, a Board Maker communication tool is available in several locations and on the Intervention lap top computers. For hearing impaired clients KFP will make use of the Hearing Impaired Feature on the telephone systems (TTY/ATS 1-800-361-8935).
Client Records and Access
All records and files are the property of Kootenay Family Place. The client has full access to their information in the Service File, under the supervision and with the support of their Kootenay Family Place staff. This procedure is explained to the client/family during the orientation process. Access by the caregiver, or anyone else, must be by written consent of the client, by court order, or by submitting a formal request under the FOIPPA Act. Kootenay Family Place staff may withhold information in the file from the client, if: it is information provided by a third party, and that party has not consented to the client viewing the information, or; the staff believes the information would be detrimental to the well-being or best interest of the client. In either case, the client may file a complaint, or apply for the information by applying under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/stat/F/96165_01.htm
Kootenay Family Place staff may provide a copy of the file information to the client, rather than the actual file, if the Kootenay Family Place staff suspects the client may damage the contents of the file; or, if the client requests a copy of the information. Kootenay Family Place staff should consult with the Program Coordinator if there is any question as to whether a client should have access to a file/information.
Guidelines for Sharing of Information:
- Must Share is required to share under law, under a court order, or under specific written policy, or; it is our duty to share to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the client or others in the community.
- Should Share we should share information that is necessary to support the continuity of care, integrated case management, or quality services.
- Should Not Share information that is not relevent to the case, or not absolutely necessary to assist our clients and fulfill our job requirements.
If a dispute arises between a client and/or Kootenay Family Place staff from different components regarding sharing information; the Program Coordinator(s) should be consulted to resolve the dispute. The Program Coordinator(s) may consult with the Executive Director if they do not reach an agreement to resolve the issue or require further clarification. If a dispute arises with another service provider regarding the release of information, the matter should be referred immediately to the Executive Director.
Program Managers are responsible to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to review and act upon complaints, grievances and Reportable Incidents.
Program Coordinators will inform the Agency Director when complaints are submitted by clients, family members, referral agents or members of the public. The steps taken by the Program Coordinator to resolve the complaint will be reviewed and modified as needed to resolve the issue. The management team will support the resolution of complaints, and monitor trends within programs and worksites.
Program Coordinators will monitor and track complaints and grievances, by keeping a file of notes regarding complaints received, and/or written responses to those complaints.
Client Complaint Procedure
At the point of intake, all clients will receive a Client Handbook from their assigned Kootenay Family Place staff that clearly articulates the Agency’s formal complaint procedure. The assigned Kootenay Family Place staff will explain to the client and/or the client’s guardian/caregiver/support person that filing a formal grievance will not result in any retaliatory action on behalf of the Agency nor restrict services in any way. Their attention will be drawn to the complaint procedure contained in the Handbook and the relevant Program Coordinator’s contact information.
A complaint can be made in one of three ways.
- By sending a written complaint to the Program Manager.
- By calling the Program Manager directly and verbally make the complaint.
- By having a support person (e.g. caregiver, advocate) to help to make the complaint.
Again, this can be done by sending a written complaint or by telephone.
Upon receiving the written complaint, the Program Manager will phone the client within 48 hours and attempt to solve the problem that led to the complaint, if at all possible. However, if the complaint is made directly by phone to the Program Manager, they will make every attempt to address the issue immediately. If they are unable to do, they will likewise call the client within 48 hours and attempt to resolve the complaint.
If the complaint remains unresolved, the Program Manager will offer to schedule a meeting, at the individual’s convenience where possible, within 7 days. The client will receive written notification as to time, place and circumstances. If it is appropriate, the assigned Kootenay Family Place staff will be invited as well as any caregiver/advocate/support individual that the client indicates they would like to have present. Every attempt will be made to resolve the complaint. If the client is unable to put the complaint in writing, the Program Manager will do so based on the verbal complaint, and ask the client to verify the accuracy of the facts and sign the form. A copy will be made available to the client.
If the complaint remains unresolved, the Program Manager will offer to schedule a formal review within 21 days that would involve the Program Manager, the Executive Director and the Contractor or their delegate. The client will be invited to come with any caregiver/advocate/support person they wish. The client will receive written notification as to time, place and circumstances. This is the final attempt at complaint resolution from the Agency’s end. In the event that the complaint is not resolvable at this level, the client will be notified of the option of applying for a review of the Agency’s handling of the complaints process through the Office of the Ombudsman. As part of the Agency’s closure on the matter, a ‘Note of Closure’ will be drafted and a copy sent to the client.
The Agency, as part of its ‘Quality Assurance Procedures’ will review all complaints on a semi-yearly basis. A report will be generated and provided to the CQI Committee, Executive Management Team and Board of Directors with attached recommendations on proposed improvements to the complaint resolution process. The Executive Management Team will incorporate findings and recommendations into the Annual Review.