Thank you for choosing The Therapy Tree!
We are grateful for the honor of improving and enriching the lives of others, whether through therapeutic services or one of the variety of classes and total mind-body services offered in our Wellness Center. We want your experience with us to be as convenient and comfortable as possible, whether you are visiting our website for the first time, as a new client, current client, or any one of the hundreds of thousands who live in Northeastern Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin we hope to enrich and empower.
We offer evening and weekend hours, to allow flexibility and convenience for both therapeutic services and our Wellness Center. Located at 89 Cedar Avenue in Lake Villa, The Therapy Tree’s Hours of Business are:
|Monday – Friday||8:30am – 8:00pm|
|Saturday||8:00am – 4:00pm|
Later evening and weekend appointments available upon request
The Therapy Tree Policies & Procedures
This information with the exception of the Code of Ethics, is also provided with our New Client Intake Packets and is always available in additional print if needed. If you have any questions regarding our policies or procedures please feel free to call the office at 847.265.7300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIPAA Notice & Privacy Practices
The Federal laws, HIPAA-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, have been written to protect the confidentiality of your health information. Your personal health history is NEVER unnecessarily made available to others outside of our office. Protecting your Confidential Health Information is always important to us.
The most significant variable that has motivated the Federal government to legally enforce the importance of the privacy of health information is the rapid evolution of computer technology and its use in healthcare.
The government has appropriately sought to standardize and protect the privacy of the electronic exchange of your health information. We have reviewed how your health information is used with the Internet, phone, faxes, copy machines and files. We have put in writing the policies and procedures we use to ensure the protection of your health information everywhere it is used.
We want you to know about these policies and procedures that we developed to make sure your health information will not be shared with anyone who does not require it. Our office is subject to State and Federal laws regarding the confidentiality of your health information and in keeping with these laws, we want you to understand procedures and your rights as our valuable client.
We will use and communicate your health information only for the purposes of providing your treatment, obtaining payment, and conducting health care operations. Your health information will not be used for other purposes unless we have asked for and been voluntarily given your written permission.
How Your Health Information May Be Used:
To Provide Treatment
We will use your health information within our office to provide you with the best care possible. This may include administrative and clinical office procedures. We may share your health information with referring physicians/pediatricians/therapists or other health care personnel providing your treatment.
To Obtain Payment
We may include your health information with an invoice used to collect payment for treatment you receive in our office. We may do this with insurance forms filed for you in the mail or sent electronically. We will be sure to only work with companies with a similar commitment to the security of your health information.
To Conduct Health Care Operations
It is possible that health information will be disclosed during audits by insurance companies or government appointed agencies as part of their quality assurance and compliance reviews. Your health information may be reviewed during the routine processed of certification, licensing, or credentialing activities.
We may contact you to follow up on your care and inform you of treatment options or services that may be of interest to you or your family. These communications may include postcards, letters, telephone calls, voice mail, bulletins or email.
Abuse or Neglect
We will notify government authorities if we believe a patient is the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We will make this disclosure only when we are compelled by our ethical judgment, when we believe we are specifically required or authorized by law or with the patient’s agreement.
Public Health and National Security
We may be required to disclose to Federal officials or military authorities health information necessary to complete an investigation related to public health or national security. Health information could be important when the government believes that the public safety could benefit when the information could lead to the control or the prevention of an epidemic or the understanding of a new medical device.
For Law Enforcement
As permitted or required by State or Federal Law, we may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes, included (under certain limited circumstances) if you are a victim of a crime or in order to report a crime.
Family, Friends, and Caregivers
We may share your health information with those you tell us will be assisting you with your treatment or payment. We will be sure to ask your permission first. In the case of emergency, we will use our best judgment when sharing your health information.
Advancing medical knowledge often involved learning from the careful study of the medical histories of prior patients. Formal review and study of health histories as a part of research study will happen only under the ethical guidance, requirements and approval of an Institutional Review Board.
Authorization to Use or Disclose Health Information
Other than what is stated about or where Federal, State, or Local law requires us, we will not disclose your health information without your written authorization. You may revoke that authorization in writing at any time.
This law is careful to describe that you have the following rights related to your health information.
You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. We will make every effort to honor reasonable restriction preferences from our clients.
You have the right to request that we communicate with you in a certain way. You may request that we only communicate your health information privately with your other family members present or through mailed communications that are sealed. We will make every effort to honor reasonable requests for confidential communications.
Inspect and Copy Your Health Information
You have the right to read, review, and copy your health information, including your complete file, and billing records. If you would like a copy of your health information, please let us know. You will be charged, according to State regulations for duplication costs.
Amend your Health Information
You have the right to ask us to update or modify your records if you believe your health insurance records are incorrect or incomplete. We will be happy to accommodate you as long as our office maintains this information. In order to standardize the process, requests must be made in writing along with a description of the reason for the change. Your request may be denied if the health information record in question was not created by our office, is not part of our records, or if the records containing your health information are determined to be complete and accurate.
Documentation of Health Information
You have the right to ask for a description of how and where your health information was used by us for any reason other than for treatment, payment or health care operations. Please let us know in writing the time period for which you are interested. Thank you for limiting your request to no more than six years at a time. We will charge you a reasonable fee for your request.
Request a Paper Copy of this Notice
You have the right to obtain a copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices directly from us at any time.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you and your representative this Notice of Privacy Practice. We are required to practice the policies and procedure described in this notice but do reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice.
If we change our privacy practices, all patients will receive a copy of the revised Notice.
You have the right to express complaints to us, or the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been compromised. We encourage you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of you information. Please let us know of your concerns or complaints in writing so that we may undertake the proper procedures to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
Website and Electronic Communication Privacy Notice
When visiting The Therapy Tree, LLC website at www.thetherapytree.org, neither the web-hosting server nor The Therapy Tree administrative computers identifies who is visiting the website. The hosting server keeps statistical data regarding what pages are visited and how often, along with the Internet address of visitors’ Internet hosting companies.
Any information collected is solely used to determine how visitors use The Therapy Tree, LLC website, allowing our webmaster to make it a more effective resource.
As stated above, The Therapy Tree, LLC never shares information collected while visiting The Therapy Tree, LLC website with another organization. If an e-mail address is provided to The Therapy Tree, LLC, it will be used solely for the purposes of our professional relationship with you, which may include occasional communication regarding anything that is new at The Therapy Tree, LLC.
If you do not wish to receive information regarding what is new please unsubscribe by sending an e-mail or by sending written notice to The Therapy Tree, LLC, 89 Cedar Ave., Lake Villa, IL 60046. You will be notified in the event this policy changes.
Cancellation Policy & Procedures
We value our families, and understand that illnesses and emergencies happen at times. In case of illness or emergency, families are required to contact their child’s their therapist to cancel treatment prior to the scheduled appointment. Please give at least 24 hours notice of cancellation when possible. Therapists needing to cancel their scheduled appointments with families will also provide 24 hours notice prior to the appointment when possible.
Following three missed appointments, The Therapy Tree, LLC may charge cancellation fees of $30.00 per missed appointment, or consider the option of terminating services.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR CANCELLATION
Illness: If your child has any of the following symptoms, please cancel your appointment. This also applies if any members of the household show any of the following symptoms when the therapist provides treatment in the home.
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher, diarrhea, or vomiting within 24 hours of treatment time
- Serious sneezing or coughing, especially with mucous present
- Watering / mattering eyes, discharge from ears
- Runny nose when discharge is NOT clear
- When child or member of household is exposed to serious childhood illnesses like chickenpox, measles, hand/foot/mouth disease, RSV, etc.
- Unusual spots, rashes, or bruises not associated with injury
- Sore throat or difficulty swallowing
- Unusual behavior, child does not feel well enough to participate in normal activities
In case of inclement weather, please call the office main line at 847.265.7300 and check our website. A message will be recorded announcing if The Therapy Tree is closed due to weather. Typically, if Lake Villa / Lindenhurst District 41 is closed due to weather, then The Therapy Tree will also be closed. Whenever the clinic remains open, please call to cancel your appointment if weather conditions prevent your child from attending your scheduled appointment.
Photographic and Video Policy
For the purposes of planning therapy, evaluating progress, training and education of families and staff, advertising on our website, success stories at health fairs, etc. occasionally The Therapy Tree, LLC takes photographs and/or videos.
There is a release in the New Patient Intake Packet that allows you to consent to or decline your child appearing in any videos or photos.
Touch and Holding Policy
During the course of therapy, it may be necessary for a therapist to touch or hold (containment) your child. Whenever the touch or holding takes place, caregivers will be present. If at any point in the course of therapy a caregiver does not think that such physical contact with your child is in his/her best interests, we notify the therapist of your concerns. Holding or touching a child is done for various therapeutic reasons including:
- Helping your child to relax
- Containing or regulating anxiety
- Helping your child focus
- Helping your child to feel empathy and understanding for any distress
If your child has difficulty dealing with stress or frustrations and often responds with tantrums, rage, out-of-control actions, then it is possible that any stress occurring in therapy will elicit similar reactions. Perhaps at that time, the therapist will also hold and touch your child, or may ask you to do so, for the purpose of regulating the anxiety your child is feeling. Containment may occur at those times under the following conditions:
- Only when it can be done guaranteeing physical safety to your child
- Only with empathy and understanding
- Only as slong as necessary for the child to re-establish self-regulation
- Only for the purposes of containing anxiety
The consent forms for touching and holding is also in the New Patient Intake Packet. You may consent, deny, or consent and withdraw consent at any time.
Code of Ethics
Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist
The Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist (Code of Ethics) delineates the ethical obligations of all physical therapists as determined by the House of Delegates of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The purposes of this Code of Ethics are to:
- Define the ethical principles that form the foundation of physical therapist practice in patient/client management, consultation, education, research, and administration.
- Provide standards of behavior and performance that form the basis of professional accountability to the public.
- Provide guidance for physical therapists facing ethical challenges, regardless of their professional roles and responsibilities.
- Educate physical therapists, students, other health care professionals, regulators, and the public regarding the core values, ethical principles, and standards that guide the professional conduct of the physical therapist.
- Establish the standards by which the American Physical Therapy Association can determine if a physical therapist has engaged in unethical conduct.
No code of ethics is exhaustive nor can it address every situation. Physical therapists are encouraged to seek additional advice or consultation in instances where the guidance of the Code of Ethics may not be definitive.
This Code of Ethics is built upon the five roles of the physical therapist (management of patients/clients, consultation, education, research, and administration), the core values of the profession, and the multiple realms of ethical action (individual, organizational, and societal).Physical therapist practice is guided by a set of seven core values: accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility. Throughout the document the primary core values that support specific principles are indicated in parentheses. Unless a specific role is indicated in the principle, the duties and obligations being delineated pertain to the five roles of the physical therapist. Fundamental to the Code of Ethics is the special obligation of physical therapists to empower, educate, and enable those with impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions, and disabilities to facilitate greater independence, health, wellness, and enhanced quality of life.
Principle #1: Physical therapists shall respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals. (Core Values: Compassion, Integrity)
1A. Physical therapists shall act in a respectful manner toward each person regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, social or economic status, sexual orientation, health condition, or disability.
1B. Physical therapists shall recognize their personal biases and shall not discriminate against others in physical therapist practice, consultation, education, research, and administration.
Principle #2: Physical therapists shall be trustworthy and compassionate in addressing the rights and needs of patients/clients. (Core Values: Altruism, Compassion, Professional Duty)
2A. Physical therapists shall adhere to the core values of the profession and shall act in the best interests of patients/clients over the interests of the physical therapist.
2B. Physical therapists shall provide physical therapy services with compassionate and caring behaviors that incorporate the individual and cultural differences of patients/clients.
2C. Physical therapists shall provide the information necessary to allow patients or their surrogates to make informed decisions about physical therapy care or participation in clinical research.
2D. Physical therapists shall collaborate with patients/clients to empower them in decisions about their health care.
2E. Physical therapists shall protect confidential patient client information and may disclose confidential information to appropriate authorities only when allowed or as required by law.
Principle #3: Physical therapists shall be accountable for making sound professional judgments. (Core Values: Excellence, Integrity)
3A. Physical therapists shall demonstrate independent and objective professional judgment in the patient’s/client’s best interest in all practice settings.
3B. Physical therapists shall demonstrate professional judgment informed by professional standards, evidence (including current literature and established best practice), practitioner experience, and patient/client values.
3C. Physical therapists shall make judgments within their scope of practice and level of expertise and shall communicate with, collaborate with, or refer to peers or other health care professionals when necessary.
3D. Physical therapists shall not engage in conflicts of interest that interfere with professional judgment.
3E. Physical therapists shall provide appropriate direction of and communication with physical therapist assistants and support personnel.
Principle #4: Physical therapists shall demonstrate integrity in their relationships with patients/clients, families, colleagues, students, research participants, other health care providers, employers, payers, and the public. (Core Value: Integrity)
4A. Physical therapists shall provide truthful, accurate, and relevant information and shall not make misleading representations.
4B. Physical therapists shall not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative or other authority (eg, patients/clients, students, supervisees, research participants, or employees).
4C. Physical therapists shall discourage misconduct by health care professionals and report illegal or unethical acts to the relevant authority, when appropriate.
4D. Physical therapists shall report suspected cases of abuse involving children or vulnerable adults to the appropriate authority, subject to law.
4E. Physical therapists shall not engage in any sexual relationship with any of their patients/clients, supervisees, or students.
4F. Physical therapists shall not harass anyone verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually.
Principle #5: Physical therapists shall fulfill their legal and professional obligations. (Core Values: Professional Duty, Accountability)
5A. Physical therapists shall comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
5B. Physical therapists shall have primary responsibility for supervision of physical therapist assistants and support personnel.
5C. Physical therapists involved in research shall abide by accepted standards governing protection of research participants.
5D. Physical therapists shall encourage colleagues with physical, psychological, or substance-related impairments that may adversely impact their professional responsibilities to seek assistance or counsel.
5E. Physical therapists who have knowledge that a colleague is unable to perform their professional responsibilities with reasonable skill and safety shall report this information to the appropriate authority.
5F. Physical therapists shall provide notice and information about alternatives for obtaining care in the event the physical therapist terminates the provider relationship while the patient/client continues to need physical therapy services.
Principle #6: Physical therapists shall enhance their expertise through the lifelong acquisition and refinement of knowledge, skills, abilities, and professional behaviors. (Core Value: Excellence)
6A. Physical therapists shall achieve and maintain professional competence.
6B. Physical therapists shall take responsibility for their professional development based on critical self-assessment and reflection on changes in physical therapist practice, education, health care delivery, and technology.
6C. Physical therapists shall evaluate the strength of evidence and applicability of content presented during professional development activities before integrating the content or techniques into practice.
6D. Physical therapists shall cultivate practice environments that support professional development, lifelong learning, and excellence.
Principle #7: Physical therapists shall promote organizational behaviors and business practices that benefit patients/clients and society. (Core Values: Integrity, Accountability)
7A. Physical therapists shall promote practice environments that support autonomous and accountable professional judgments.
7B. Physical therapists shall seek remuneration as is deserved and reasonable for physical therapist services.
7C. Physical therapists shall not accept gifts or other considerations that influence or give an appearance of influencing their professional judgment.
7D. Physical therapists shall fully disclose any financial interest they have in products or services that they recommend to patients/clients.
7E. Physical therapists shall be aware of charges and shall ensure that documentation and coding for physical therapy services accurately reflect the nature and extent of the services provided.
7F. Physical therapists shall refrain from employment arrangements, or other arrangements, that prevent physical therapists from fulfilling professional obligations to patients/clients.
Principle #8: Physical therapists shall participate in efforts to meet the health needs of people locally, 3nationally, or globally.(Core Value: Social Responsibility)
8A. Physical therapists shall provide pro bono physical therapy services or support organizations that meet the health needs of people who are economically disadvantaged, uninsured, and underinsured.
8B. Physical therapists shall advocate to reduce health disparities and health care inequities, improve access to health care services, and address the health, wellness, and preventive health care needs of people.
8C. Physical therapists shall be responsible stewards of health care resources and shall avoid overutilization or underutilization of physical therapy services.
8D. Physical therapists shall educate members of the public about the benefits of physical therapy and the unique role of the physical therapist.
Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics 2015
The 2015 Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (Code) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is designed to reflect the dynamic nature of the profession, the evolving health care environment, and emerging technologies that can present potential ethical concerns in research, education, and practice. AOTA members are committed to promoting inclusion, participation, safety, and well-being for all recipients in various stages of life, health, and illness and to empowering all beneficiaries of service to meet their occupational needs. Recipients of services may be individuals, groups, families, organizations, communities, or populations (AOTA, 2014b).
The Code is an AOTA Official Document and a public statement tailored to address the most prevalent ethical concerns of the occupational therapy profession. It outlines Standards of Conduct the public can expect from those in the profession. It should be applied to all areas of occupational therapy and shared with relevant stakeholders to promote ethical conduct.
The Code serves two purposes:
- It provides aspirational Core Values that guide members toward ethical courses of action in professional and volunteer roles, and
- It delineates enforceable Principles and Standards of Conduct that apply to AOTA members.
Whereas the Code helps guide and define decision-making parameters, ethical action goes beyond rote compliance with these Principles and is a manifestation of moral character and mindful reflection. It is a commitment to benefit others, to virtuous practice of artistry and science, to genuinely good behaviors, and to noble acts of courage. Recognizing and resolving ethical issues is a systematic process that includes analysis of the complex dynamics of situations, weighing of consequences, making reasoned decisions, taking action, and reflecting on outcomes. Occupational therapy personnel, including students in occupational therapy programs, are expected to abide by the Principles and Standards of Conduct within this Code. Personnel roles include clinicians (e.g., direct service, consultation, administration); educators; researchers; entrepreneurs; business owners; and those in elected, appointed, or other professional volunteer service.
The process for addressing ethics violations by AOTA members (and associate members, where applicable) is outlined in the Code’s Enforcement Procedures (AOTA, 2014a).
Although the Code can be used in conjunction with licensure board regulations and laws that guide standards of practice, the Code is meant to be a free-standing document, guiding ethical dimensions of professional behavior, responsibility, practice, and decision making. This Code is not exhaustive; that is, the Principles and Standards of Conduct cannot address every possible situation. Therefore, before making complex ethical decisions that require further expertise, occupational therapy personnel should seek out resources to assist in resolving ethical issues not addressed in this document. Resources can include, but are not limited to, ethics committees, ethics officers, the AOTA Ethics Commission or Ethics Program Manager, or an ethics consultant.
The profession is grounded in seven long-standing Core Values: (1) Altruism, (2) Equality, (3) Freedom, (4) Justice, (5) Dignity, (6) Truth, and (7) Prudence. Altruism involves demonstrating concern for the welfare of others. Equality refers to treating all people impartially and free of bias. Freedom and personal choice are paramount in a profession in which the values and desires of the client guide our interventions. Justice expresses a state in which diverse communities are inclusive; diverse communities are organized and structured such that all members can function, flourish, and live a satisfactory life. Occupational therapy personnel, by virtue of the specific nature of the practice of occupational therapy, have a vested interest in addressing unjust inequities that limit opportunities for participation in society (Braveman & Bass-Haugen, 2009).
Inherent in the practice of occupational therapy is the promotion and preservation of the individuality and Dignity of the client, by treating him or her with respect in all interactions. In all situations, occupational therapy personnel must provide accurate information in oral, written, and electronic forms (Truth). Occupational therapy personnel use their clinical and ethical reasoning skills, sound judgment, and reflection to make decisions in professional and volunteer roles (Prudence).
The seven Core Values provide a foundation to guide occupational therapy personnel in their interactions with others. Although the Core Values are not themselves enforceable standards, they should be considered when determining the most ethical course of action.
Principles and Standards of Conduct
The Principles and Standards of Conduct that are enforceable for professional behavior include (1) Beneficence, (2) Nonmaleficence, (3) Autonomy, (4) Justice, (5) Veracity, and (6) Fidelity. Reflection on the historical foundations of occupational therapy and related professions resulted in the inclusion of Principles that are consistently referenced as a guideline for ethical decision making.
Principle 1. Occupational therapy personnel shall demonstrate a concern for the well-being and safety of the recipients of their services.
Beneficence includes all forms of action intended to benefit other persons. The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). Beneficence requires taking action by helping others, in other words, by promoting good, by preventing harm, and by removing harm. Examples of beneficence include protecting and defending the rights of others, preventing harm from occurring to others, removing conditions that will cause harm to others, helping persons with disabilities, and rescuing persons in danger (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013).
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Provide appropriate evaluation and a plan of intervention for recipients of occupational therapy services specific to their needs.
- B. Reevaluate and reassess recipients of service in a timely manner to determine whether goals are being achieved and whether intervention plans should be revised.
- C. Use, to the extent possible, evaluation, planning, intervention techniques, assessments, and therapeutic equipment that are evidence based, current, and within the recognized scope of occupational therapy practice.
- D. Ensure that all duties delegated to other occupational therapy personnel are congruent with credentials, qualifications, experience, competency, and scope of practice with respect to service delivery, supervision, fieldwork education, and research.
- E. Provide occupational therapy services, including education and training, that are within each practitioner’s level of competence and scope of practice.
- F. Take steps (e.g., continuing education, research, supervision, training) to ensure proficiency, use careful judgment, and weigh potential for harm when generally recognized standards do not exist in emerging technology or areas of practice.
- G. Maintain competency by ongoing participation in education relevant to one’s practice area.
- H. Terminate occupational therapy services in collaboration with the service recipient or responsible party when the services are no longer beneficial.
- I. Refer to other providers when indicated by the needs of the client.
- J. Conduct and disseminate research in accordance with currently accepted ethical guidelines and standards for the protection of research participants, including determination of potential risks and benefits.
Principle 2. Occupational therapy personnel shall refrain from actions that cause harm.
Nonmaleficence “obligates us to abstain from causing harm to others” (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p. 150). The Principle of Nonmaleficence also includes an obligation to not impose risks of harm even if the potential risk is without malicious or harmful intent. This Principle often is examined under the context of due care. The standard of due care “requires that the goals pursued justify the risks that must be imposed to achieve those goals” (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p. 154). For example, in occupational therapy practice, this standard applies to situations in which the client might feel pain from a treatment intervention; however, the acute pain is justified by potential longitudinal, evidence-based benefits of the treatment.
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Avoid inflicting harm or injury to recipients of occupational therapy services, students, research participants, or employees.
- B. Avoid abandoning the service recipient by facilitating appropriate transitions when unable to provide services for any reason.
- C. Recognize and take appropriate action to remedy personal problems and limitations that might cause harm to recipients of service, colleagues, students, research participants, or others.
- D. Avoid any undue influences that may impair practice and compromise the ability to safely and competently provide occupational therapy services, education, or research.
- E. Address impaired practice and when necessary report to the appropriate authorities.
- F. Avoid dual relationships, conflicts of interest, and situations in which a practitioner, educator, student, researcher, or employer is unable to maintain clear professional boundaries or objectivity.
- G. Avoid engaging in sexual activity with a recipient of service, including the client’s family or significant other, student, research participant, or employee, while a professional relationship exists.
- H. Avoid compromising rights or well-being of others based on arbitrary directives (e.g., unrealistic productivity expectations, falsification of documentation, inaccurate coding) by exercising professional judgment and critical analysis.
- I. Avoid exploiting any relationship established as an occupational therapy clinician, educator, or researcher to further one’s own physical, emotional, financial, political, or business interests at the expense of recipients of services, students, research participants, employees, or colleagues.
- J. Avoid bartering for services when there is the potential for exploitation and conflict of interest.
Principle 3. Occupational therapy personnel shall respect the right of the individual to self-determination, privacy, confidentiality, and consent.
The Principle of Autonomy expresses the concept that practitioners have a duty to treat the client according to the client’s desires, within the bounds of accepted standards of care, and to protect the client’s confidential information. Often, respect for Autonomy is referred to as the self-determination principle. However, respecting a person’s autonomy goes beyond acknowledging an individual as a mere agent and also acknowledges a person’s right “to hold views, to make choices, and to take actions based on [his or her] values and beliefs” (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013, p. 106). Individuals have the right to make a determination regarding care decisions that directly affect their lives. In the event that a person lacks decision-making capacity, his or her autonomy should be respected through involvement of an authorized agent or surrogate decision maker.
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Respect and honor the expressed wishes of recipients of service.
- B. Fully disclose the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes of any intervention; the personnel who will be providing the intervention; and any reasonable alternatives to the proposed intervention.
- C. Obtain consent after disclosing appropriate information and answering any questions posed by the recipient of service or research participant to ensure voluntariness.
- D. Establish a collaborative relationship with recipients of service and relevant stakeholders, to promote shared decision making.
- E. Respect the client’s right to refuse occupational therapy services temporarily or permanently, even when that refusal has potential to result in poor outcomes.
- F. Refrain from threatening, coercing, or deceiving clients to promote compliance with occupational therapy recommendations.
- G. Respect a research participant’s right to withdraw from a research study without penalty.
- H. Maintain the confidentiality of all verbal, written, electronic, augmentative, and nonverbal communications, in compliance with applicable laws, including all aspects of privacy laws and exceptions thereto (e.g., Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
- I. Display responsible conduct and discretion when engaging in social networking, including but not limited to refraining from posting protected health information.
- J. Facilitate comprehension and address barriers to communication (e.g., aphasia; differences in language, literacy, culture) with the recipient of service (or responsible party), student, or research participant.
Principle 4. Occupational therapy personnel shall promote fairness and objectivity in the provision of occupational therapy services.
The Principle of Justice relates to the fair, equitable, and appropriate treatment of persons (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). Occupational therapy personnel should relate in a respectful, fair, and impartial manner to individuals and groups with whom they interact. They should also respect the applicable laws and standards related to their area of practice. Justice requires the impartial consideration and consistent following of rules to generate unbiased decisions and promote fairness. As occupational therapy personnel, we work to uphold a society in which all individuals have an equitable opportunity to achieve occupational engagement as an essential component of their life.
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Respond to requests for occupational therapy services (e.g., a referral) in a timely manner as determined by law, regulation, or policy.
- B. Assist those in need of occupational therapy services to secure access through available means.
- C. Address barriers in access to occupational therapy services by offering or referring clients to financial aid, charity care, or pro bono services within the parameters of organizational policies.
- D. Advocate for changes to systems and policies that are discriminatory or unfairly limit or prevent access to occupational therapy services.
- E. Maintain awareness of current laws and AOTA policies and Official Documents that apply to the profession of occupational therapy.
- F. Inform employers, employees, colleagues, students, and researchers of applicable policies, laws, and Official Documents.
- G. Hold requisite credentials for the occupational therapy services they provide in academic, research, physical, or virtual work settings.
- H. Provide appropriate supervision in accordance with AOTA Official Documents and relevant laws, regulations, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines.
- I. Obtain all necessary approvals prior to initiating research activities.
- J. Refrain from accepting gifts that would unduly influence the therapeutic relationship or have the potential to blur professional boundaries, and adhere to employer policies when offered gifts.
- K. Report to appropriate authorities any acts in practice, education, and research that are unethical or illegal.
- L. Collaborate with employers to formulate policies and procedures in compliance with legal, regulatory, and ethical standards and work to resolve any conflicts or inconsistencies.
- M. Bill and collect fees legally and justly in a manner that is fair, reasonable, and commensurate with services delivered.
- N. Ensure compliance with relevant laws and promote transparency when participating in a business arrangement as owner, stockholder, partner, or employee.
- O. Ensure that documentation for reimbursement purposes is done in accordance with applicable laws, guidelines, and regulations.
- P. Refrain from participating in any action resulting in unauthorized access to educational content or exams (including but not limited to sharing test questions, unauthorized use of or access to content or codes, or selling access or authorization codes).
Principle 5. Occupational therapy personnel shall provide comprehensive, accurate, and objective information when representing the profession.
Veracity is based on the virtues of truthfulness, candor, and honesty. The Principle of Veracity refers to comprehensive, accurate, and objective transmission of information and includes fostering understanding of such information (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). Veracity is based on respect owed to others, including but not limited to recipients of service, colleagues, students, researchers, and research participants.
In communicating with others, occupational therapy personnel implicitly promise to be truthful and not deceptive. When entering into a therapeutic or research relationship, the recipient of service or research participant has a right to accurate information. In addition, transmission of information is incomplete without also ensuring that the recipient or participant understands the information provided.
Concepts of veracity must be carefully balanced with other potentially competing ethical principles, cultural beliefs, and organizational policies. Veracity ultimately is valued as a means to establish trust and strengthen professional relationships. Therefore, adherence to the Principle of Veracity also requires thoughtful analysis of how full disclosure of information may affect outcomes.
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Represent credentials, qualifications, education, experience, training, roles, duties, competence, contributions, and findings accurately in all forms of communication.
- B. Refrain from using or participating in the use of any form of communication that contains false, fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, or unfair statements or claims.
- C. Record and report in an accurate and timely manner and in accordance with applicable regulations all information related to professional or academic documentation and activities.
- D. Identify and fully disclose to all appropriate persons errors or adverse events that compromise the safety of service recipients.
- E. Ensure that all marketing and advertising are truthful, accurate, and carefully presented to avoid misleading recipients of service, research participants, or the public.
- F. Describe the type and duration of occupational therapy services accurately in professional contracts, including the duties and responsibilities of all involved parties.
- G. Be honest, fair, accurate, respectful, and timely in gathering and reporting fact-based information regarding employee job performance and student performance.
- H. Give credit and recognition when using the ideas and work of others in written, oral, or electronic media (i.e., do not plagiarize).
- I. Provide students with access to accurate information regarding educational requirements and academic policies and procedures relative to the occupational therapy program or educational institution.
- J. Maintain privacy and truthfulness when utilizing telecommunication in delivery of occupational therapy services.
Principle 6. Occupational therapy personnel shall treat clients, colleagues, and other professionals with respect, fairness, discretion, and integrity.
The Principle of Fidelity comes from the Latin root fidelis, meaning loyal. Fidelity refers to the duty one has to keep a commitment once it is made (Veatch, Haddad, & English, 2010). In the health professions, this commitment refers to promises made between a provider and a client or patient based on an expectation of loyalty, staying with the patient in a time of need, and compliance with a code of ethics. These promises can be implied or explicit. The duty to disclose information that is potentially meaningful in making decisions is one obligation of the moral contract between provider and client or patient (Veatch et al., 2010).
Whereas respecting Fidelity requires occupational therapy personnel to meet the client’s reasonable expectations, the Principle also addresses maintaining respectful collegial and organizational relationships (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). Professional relationships are greatly influenced by the complexity of the environment in which occupational therapy personnel work. Practitioners, educators, and researchers alike must consistently balance their duties to service recipients, students, research participants, and other professionals as well as to organizations that may influence decision making and professional practice.
Related Standards of Conduct
Occupational therapy personnel shall:
- A. Preserve, respect, and safeguard private information about employees, colleagues, and students unless otherwise mandated or permitted by relevant laws.
- B. Address incompetent, disruptive, unethical, illegal, or impaired practice that jeopardizes the safety or well-being of others and team effectiveness.
- C. Avoid conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment in employment, volunteer roles, or research.
- D. Avoid using one’s position (employee or volunteer) or knowledge gained from that position in such a manner as to give rise to real or perceived conflict of interest among the person, the employer, other AOTA members, or other organizations.
- E. Be diligent stewards of human, financial, and material resources of their employers, and refrain from exploiting these resources for personal gain.
- F. Refrain from verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual harassment of peers or colleagues.
- G. Refrain from communication that is derogatory, intimidating, or disrespectful and that unduly discourages others from participating in professional dialogue.
- H. Promote collaborative actions and communication as a member of interprofessional teams to facilitate quality care and safety for clients.
- I. Respect the practices, competencies, roles, and responsibilities of their own and other professions to promote a collaborative environment reflective of interprofessional teams.
- J. Use conflict resolution and internal and alternative dispute resolution resources as needed to resolve organizational and interpersonal conflicts, as well as perceived institutional ethics violations.
- K. Abide by policies, procedures, and protocols when serving or acting on behalf of a professional organization or employer to fully and accurately represent the organization’s official and authorized positions.
- L. Refrain from actions that reduce the public’s trust in occupational therapy.
- M. Self-identify when personal, cultural, or religious values preclude, or are anticipated to negatively affect, the professional relationship or provision of services, while adhering to organizational policies when requesting an exemption from service to an individual or group on the basis of conflict of conscience.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Code of Ethics
Reference: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2010r). Code of Ethics [Ethics]. Available from www.asha.org/policy
The preservation of the highest standards of integrity and ethical principles is vital to the responsible discharge of obligations by speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. This Code of Ethics sets forth the fundamental principles and rules considered essential to this purpose.
Every individual who is (a) a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, whether certified or not, (b) a nonmember holding the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the Association, (c) an applicant for membership or certification, or (d) a Clinical Fellow seeking to fulfill standards for certification shall abide by this Code of Ethics.
Any violation of the spirit and purpose of this Code shall be considered unethical. Failure to specify any particular responsibility or practice in this Code of Ethics shall not be construed as denial of the existence of such responsibilities or practices.
The fundamentals of ethical conduct are described by Principles of Ethics and by Rules of Ethics as they relate to the responsibility to persons served, the public, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, and to the conduct of research and scholarly activities.
Principles of Ethics, aspirational and inspirational in nature, form the underlying moral basis for the Code of Ethics. Individuals shall observe these principles as affirmative obligations under all conditions of professional activity.
Rules of Ethics are specific statements of minimally acceptable professional conduct or of prohibitions and are applicable to all individuals.
Principle of Ethics I:
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to hold paramount the welfare of persons they serve professionally or who are participants in research and scholarly activities, and they shall treat animals involved in research in a humane manner.
Rules of Ethics
- A. Individuals shall provide all services competently.
- B. Individuals shall use every resource, including referral when appropriate, to ensure that high-quality service is provided.
- C. Individuals shall not discriminate in the delivery of professional services or the conduct of research and scholarly activities on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, gender identity/gender expression, age, religion, national origin,sexual orientation, or disability.
- D. Individuals shall not misrepresent the credentials of assistants, technicians, support personnel, students, Clinical Fellows, or any others under their supervision, and they shall inform those they serve professionally of the name and professional credentials of persons providing services.
- E. Individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence shall not delegate tasks that require the unique skills, knowledge, and judgment that are within the scope of their profession to assistants, technicians, support personnel, or any nonprofessionals over whom they have supervisory responsibility.
- F. Individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence may delegate tasks related to provision of clinical services to assistants, technicians, support personnel, or any other persons only if those services are appropriately supervised, realizing that the responsibility for client welfare remains with the certified individual.
- G. Individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence may delegate tasks related to provision of clinical services that require the unique skills,knowledge, and judgment that are within the scope of practice of their profession to students only if those services are appropriately supervised. The responsibility for client welfare remains with the certified individual.
- H. Individuals shall fully inform the persons they serve of the nature and possible effects of services rendered and products dispensed, and they shall inform participants in research about the possible effects of their participation in research conducted.
- I. Individuals shall evaluate the effectiveness of services rendered and of products dispensed, and they shall provide services or dispense products only when benefit can reasonably be expected.
- J. Individuals shall not guarantee the results of any treatment or procedure, directly or by implication; however, they may make a reasonable statement of prognosis.
- K. Individuals shall not provide clinical services solely by correspondence.
- L. Individuals may practice by telecommunication (e.g., telehealth/e-health), where not prohibited by law.
- M. Individuals shall adequately maintain and appropriately secure records of professional services rendered, research and scholarly activities conducted, and products dispensed, and they shall allow access to these records only when authorized or when required by law.
- N. Individuals shall not reveal, without authorization, any professional or personal information about identified persons served professionally or identified participants involved in research and scholarly activities unless doing so is necessary to protect the welfare of the person or of the community or is otherwise required by law.
- O. Individuals shall not charge for services not rendered, nor shall they misrepresent services rendered, products dispensed, or research and scholarly activities conducted.
- P. Individuals shall enroll and include persons as participants in research or teaching demonstrations only if their participation is voluntary, without coercion, and with their informed consent.
- Q. Individuals whose professional services are adversely affected by substance abuse or other health-related conditions shall seek professional assistance and, where appropriate, withdraw from the affected areas of practice.
- R. Individuals shall not discontinue service to those they are serving without providing reasonable notice.
Principle of Ethics II:
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to achieve and maintain the highest level of professional competence and performance.
Rules of Ethics
- A. Individuals shall engage in only those aspects of the professions that are within the scope of their professional practice and compe tence, considering their level of education, training, and experience.
- B. Individuals shall engage in lifelong learning to maintain and enhance professional competence and performance.
- C. Individuals shall not require or permit their professional staff to provide services or conduct research activities that exceed the staff member’s competence, level of education, training, and experience.
- D. Individuals shall ensure that all equipment used to provide services or to conduct research and scholarly activities is in proper working order and is properly calibrated.
Principle of Ethics III
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to the public by promoting public understanding of the professions, by supporting the development of services designed to fulfill the unmet needs of the public, and by providing accurate information in all communications involving any aspect of the professions, including the dissemination of research findings and scholarly activities, and the promotion, marketing, and advertising of products and services.
Rules of Ethics
- A. Individuals shall not misrepresent their credentials, competence, education,training, experience, or scholarly or research contributions.
- B. Individuals shall not participate in professional activities that constitute a conflict of interest.
- C. Individuals shall refer those served professionally solely on the basis of the interest of those being referred and not on any personal interest, financial or otherwise.
- D. Individuals shall not misrepresent research, diagnostic information, services rendered, results of services rendered, products dispensed, or the effects of products dispensed.
- E. Individuals shall not defraud or engage in any scheme to defraud in connection with obtaining payment, reimbursement, or grants for services rendered,research conducted, or products dispensed.
- F. Individuals’ statements to the public shall provide accurate information about the nature and management of communication disorders, about the professions, about professional services, about products for sale, and about research and scholarly activities.
- G. Individuals’ statements to the public when advertising, announcing, and marketing their professional services; reporting research results; and promoting products shall adhere to professional standards and shall not contain misrepresentations.
Principle of Ethics IV:
Individuals shall honor their responsibilities to the professions and their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of other professions and disciplines.
Rules of Ethics
- A. Individuals shall uphold the dignity and autonomy of the professions, maintain harmonious interprofessional and intraprofessional relationships, and accept the professions’ self-imposed standards.
- B. Individuals shall prohibit anyone under their supervision from engaging in any practice that violates the Code of Ethics.
- C. Individuals shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
- D. Individuals shall not engage in any form of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment or power abuse.
- E. Individuals shall not engage in any other form of conduct that adversely reflects on the professions or on the individual’s fitness to serve persons professionally.
- F. Individuals shall not engage in sexual activities with clients, students, or research participants over whom they exercise professional authority or power.
- G. Individuals shall assign credit only to those who have contributed to a publication, presentation, or product. Credit shall be assigned in proportion to the contribution and only with the contributor’s consent.
- H. Individuals shall reference the source when using other persons’ ideas, research, presentations, or products in written, oral, or any other media presentation or summary.
- I. Individuals’ statements to colleagues about professional services, research results, and products shall adhere to prevailing professional standards and shall contain no misrepresentations.
- J. Individuals shall not provide professional services without exercising independent professional judgment, regardless of referral source or prescription.
- K. Individuals shall not discriminate in their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of other professions and disciplines on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, gender identity/gender expression, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
- L. Individuals shall not file or encourage others to file complaints that disregard or ignore facts that would disprove the allegation, nor should the Code of Ethics be used for personal reprisal, as a means of addressing personal animosity, or as a vehicle for retaliation.
- M. Individuals who have reason to believe that the Code of Ethics has been violated shall inform the Board of Ethics.
- N. Individuals shall comply fully with the policies of the Board of Ethics in itsconsideration and adjudication of complaints of violations of the Code of Ethics.
- Social justice
- Dignity and worth of the person
- Importance of human relationships
- 1.The Code identifies core values on which social work’s mission is based.
- 2.The Code summarizes broad ethical principles that reflect the profession’s core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice.
- 3. The Code is designed to help social workers identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise.
- 4.The Code provides ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable.
- 5.The Code socializes practitioners new to the field to social work’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards.
- 6.The Code articulates standards that the social work profession itself can use to assess whether social workers have engaged in unethical conduct. NASW has formal procedures to adjudicate ethics complaints filed against its members.* In subscribing to this Code, social workers are required to cooperate in its implementation, participate in NASW adjudication proceedings, and abide by any NASW disciplinary rulings or sanctions based on it.
Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers
The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.
Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.
The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:
This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience.
Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics
Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers’ conduct. The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in which they work, or the populations they serve.
The NASW Code of Ethics serves six purposes:
The Code offers a set of values, principles, and standards to guide decision making and conduct when ethical issues arise. It does not provide a set of rules that prescribe how social workers should act in all situations. Specific applications of the Code must take into account the context in which it is being considered and the possibility of conflicts among the Code‘s values, principles, and standards. Ethical responsibilities flow from all human relationships, from the personal and familial to the social and professional.
Further, the NASW Code of Ethics does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict. Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards should be rank ordered when they conflict. Ethical decision making in a given situation must apply the informed judgment of the individual social worker and should also consider how the issues would be judged in a peer review process where the ethical standards of the profession would be applied.
Ethical decision making is a process. There are many instances in social work where simple answers are not available to resolve complex ethical issues. Social workers should take into consideration all the values, principles, and standards in this Code that are relevant to any situation in which ethical judgment is warranted. Social workers’ decisions and actions should be consistent with the spirit as well as the letter of this Code.
In addition to this Code, there are many other sources of information about ethical thinking that may be useful. Social workers should consider ethical theory and principles generally, social work theory and research, laws, regulations, agency policies, and other relevant codes of ethics, recognizing that among codes of ethics social workers should consider the NASW Code of Ethics as their primary source. Social workers also should be aware of the impact on ethical decision making of their clients’ and their own personal values and cultural and religious beliefs and practices. They should be aware of any conflicts between personal and professional values and deal with them responsibly. For additional guidance social workers should consult the relevant literature on professional ethics and ethical decision making and seek appropriate consultation when faced with ethical dilemmas. This may involve consultation with an agency-based or social work organization’s ethics committee, a regulatory body, knowledgeable colleagues, supervisors, or legal counsel.
Instances may arise when social workers’ ethical obligations conflict with agency policies or relevant laws or regulations. When such conflicts occur, social workers must make a responsible effort to resolve the conflict in a manner that is consistent with the values, principles, and standards expressed in this Code. If a reasonable resolution of the conflict does not appear possible, social workers should seek proper consultation before making a decision.
The NASW Code of Ethics is to be used by NASW and by individuals, agencies, organizations, and bodies (such as licensing and regulatory boards, professional liability insurance providers, courts of law, agency boards of directors, government agencies, and other professional groups) that choose to adopt it or use it as a frame of reference. Violation of standards in this Code does not automatically imply legal liability or violation of the law. Such determination can only be made in the context of legal and judicial proceedings. Alleged violations of the Code would be subject to a peer review process. Such processes are generally separate from legal or administrative procedures and insulated from legal review or proceedings to allow the profession to counsel and discipline its own members.
A code of ethics cannot guarantee ethical behavior. Moreover, a code of ethics cannot resolve all ethical issues or disputes or capture the richness and complexity involved in striving to make responsible choices within a moral community. Rather, a code of ethics sets forth values, ethical principles, and ethical standards to which professionals aspire and by which their actions can be judged. Social workers’ ethical behavior should result from their personal commitment to engage in ethical practice. The NASW Code of Ethics reflects the commitment of all social workers to uphold the profession’s values and to act ethically. Principles and standards must be applied by individuals of good character who discern moral questions and, in good faith, seek to make reliable ethical judgments.
The following broad ethical principles are based on social work’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.
Ethical Principle: Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers elevate service to others above self-interest. Social workers draw on their knowledge, values, and skills to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their professional skills with no expectation of significant financial return (pro bono service).
Value: Social Justice
Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice. Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.
Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person
Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible self-determination. Social workers seek to enhance clients’ capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients’ interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession.
Value: Importance of Human Relationships
Ethical Principle: Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships. Social workers understand that relationships between and among people are an important vehicle for change. Social workers engage people as partners in the helping process. Social workers seek to strengthen relationships among people in a purposeful effort to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities.
Ethical Principle: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner. Social workers are continually aware of the profession’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. Social workers act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated.
Ethical Principle: Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.
Social workers continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and skills and to apply them in practice. Social workers should aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.
The following ethical standards are relevant to the professional activities of all social workers. These standards concern (1) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to clients, (2) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to colleagues, (3) social workers’ ethical responsibilities in practice settings, (4) social workers’ ethical responsibilities as professionals, (5) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the social work profession, and (6) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the broader society.
Some of the standards that follow are enforceable guidelines for professional conduct, and some are aspirational. The extent to which each standard is enforceable is a matter of professional judgment to be exercised by those responsible for reviewing alleged violations of ethical standards.
1. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO CLIENTS
1.01 Commitment to Clients
Social workers’ primary responsibility is to promote the well-being of clients. In general, clients’ interests are primary. However, social workers’ responsibility to the larger society or specific legal obligations may on limited occasions supersede the loyalty owed clients, and clients should be so advised. (Examples include when a social worker is required by law to report that a client has abused a child or has threatened to harm self or others.)
Social workers respect and promote the right of clients to self-determination and assist clients in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals. Social workers may limit clients’ right to self-determination when, in the social workers’ professional judgment, clients’ actions or potential actions pose a serious, foreseeable, and imminent risk to themselves or others.
1.03 Informed Consent
(a) Social workers should provide services to clients only in the context of a professional relationship based, when appropriate, on valid informed consent. Social workers should use clear and understandable language to inform clients of the purpose of the services, risks related to the services, limits to services because of the requirements of a third-party payer, relevant costs, reasonable alternatives, clients’ right to refuse or withdraw consent, and the time frame covered by the consent. Social workers should provide clients with an opportunity to ask questions.
(b) In instances when clients are not literate or have difficulty understanding the primary language used in the practice setting, social workers should take steps to ensure clients’ comprehension. This may include providing clients with a detailed verbal explanation or arranging for a qualified interpreter or translator whenever possible.
(c) In instances when clients lack the capacity to provide informed consent, social workers should protect clients’ interests by seeking permission from an appropriate third party, informing clients consistent with the clients’ level of understanding. In such instances social workers should seek to ensure that the third party acts in a manner consistent with clients’ wishes and interests. Social workers should take reasonable steps to enhance such clients’ ability to give informed consent.
(d) In instances when clients are receiving services involuntarily, social workers should provide information about the nature and extent of services and about the extent of clients’ right to refuse service.
(e) Social workers who provide services via electronic media (such as computer, telephone, radio, and television) should inform recipients of the limitations and risks associated with such services.
(f) Social workers should obtain clients’ informed consent before audiotaping or videotaping clients or permitting observation of services to clients by a third party.
(a) Social workers should provide services and represent themselves as competent only within the boundaries of their education, training, license, certification, consultation received, supervised experience, or other relevant professional experience.
(b) Social workers should provide services in substantive areas or use intervention techniques or approaches that are new to them only after engaging in appropriate study, training, consultation, and supervision from people who are competent in those interventions or techniques.
(c) When generally recognized standards do not exist with respect to an emerging area of practice, social workers should exercise careful judgment and take responsible steps (including appropriate education, research, training, consultation, and supervision) to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients from harm.
1.05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity
(a) Social workers should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures.
(b) Social workers should have a knowledge base of their clients’ cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients’ cultures and to differences among people and cultural groups.
(c) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.
1.06 Conflicts of Interest
(a) Social workers should be alert to and avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment. Social workers should inform clients when a real or potential conflict of interest arises and take reasonable steps to resolve the issue in a manner that makes the clients’ interests primary and protects clients’ interests to the greatest extent possible. In some cases, protecting clients’ interests may require termination of the professional relationship with proper referral of the client.
(b) Social workers should not take unfair advantage of any professional relationship or exploit others to further their personal, religious, political, or business interests.
(c) Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former clients in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. In instances when dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, social workers should take steps to protect clients and are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries. (Dual or multiple relationships occur when social workers relate to clients in more than one relationship, whether professional, social, or business. Dual or multiple relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively.)
(d) When social workers provide services to two or more people who have a relationship with each other (for example, couples, family members), social workers should clarify with all parties which individuals will be considered clients and the nature of social workers’ professional obligations to the various individuals who are receiving services. Social workers who anticipate a conflict of interest among the individuals receiving services or who anticipate having to perform in potentially conflicting roles (for example, when a social worker is asked to testify in a child custody dispute or divorce proceedings involving clients) should clarify their role with the parties involved and take appropriate action to minimize any conflict of interest.
1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality
(a) Social workers should respect clients’ right to privacy. Social workers should not solicit private information from clients unless it is essential to providing services or conducting social work evaluation or research. Once private information is shared, standards of confidentiality apply.
(b) Social workers may disclose confidential information when appropriate with valid consent from a client or a person legally authorized to consent on behalf of a client.
(c) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of professional service, except for compelling professional reasons. The general expectation that social workers will keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is necessary to prevent serious, foreseeable, and imminent harm to a client or other identifiable person. In all instances, social workers should disclose the least amount of confidential information necessary to achieve the desired purpose; only information that is directly relevant to the purpose for which the disclosure is made should be revealed.
(d) Social workers should inform clients, to the extent possible, about the disclosure of confidential information and the potential consequences, when feasible before the disclosure is made. This applies whether social workers disclose confidential information on the basis of a legal requirement or client consent.
(e) Social workers should discuss with clients and other interested parties the nature of confidentiality and limitations of clients’ right to confidentiality. Social workers should review with clients circumstances where confidential information may be requested and where disclosure of confidential information may be legally required. This discussion should occur as soon as possible in the social worker-client relationship and as needed throughout the course of the relationship.
(f) When social workers provide counseling services to families, couples, or groups, social workers should seek agreement among the parties involved concerning each individual’s right to confidentiality and obligation to preserve the confidentiality of information shared by others. Social workers should inform participants in family, couples, or group counseling that social workers cannot guarantee that all participants will honor such agreements.
(g) Social workers should inform clients involved in family, couples, marital, or group counseling of the social worker’s, employer’s, and agency’s policy concerning the social worker’s disclosure of confidential information among the parties involved in the counseling.
(h) Social workers should not disclose confidential information to third-party payers unless clients have authorized such disclosure.
(i) Social workers should not discuss confidential information in any setting unless privacy can be ensured. Social workers should not discuss confidential information in public or semipublic areas such as hallways, waiting rooms, elevators, and restaurants.
(j) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients during legal proceedings to the extent permitted by law. When a court of law or other legally authorized body orders social workers to disclose confidential or privileged information without a client’s consent and such disclosure could cause harm to the client, social workers should request that the court withdraw the order or limit the order as narrowly as possible or maintain the records under seal, unavailable for public inspection.
(k) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients when responding to requests from members of the media.
(l) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients’ written and electronic records and other sensitive information. Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that clients’ records are stored in a secure location and that clients’ records are not available to others who are not authorized to have access.
(m) Social workers should take precautions to ensure and maintain the confidentiality of information transmitted to other parties through the use of computers, electronic mail, facsimile machines, telephones and telephone answering machines, and other electronic or computer technology. Disclosure of identifying information should be avoided whenever possible.
(n) Social workers should transfer or dispose of clients’ records in a manner that protects clients’ confidentiality and is consistent with state statutes governing records and social work licensure.
(o) Social workers should take reasonable precautions to protect client confidentiality in the event of the social worker’s termination of practice, incapacitation, or death.
(p) Social workers should not disclose identifying information when discussing clients for teaching or training purposes unless the client has consented to disclosure of confidential information.
(q) Social workers should not disclose identifying information when discussing clients with consultants unless the client has consented to disclosure of confidential information or there is a compelling need for such disclosure.
(r) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of deceased clients consistent with the preceding standards.
1.08 Access to Records
(a) Social workers should provide clients with reasonable access to records concerning the clients. Social workers who are concerned that clients’ access to their records could cause serious misunderstanding or harm to the client should provide assistance in interpreting the records and consultation with the client regarding the records. Social workers should limit clients’ access to their records, or portions of their records, only in exceptional circumstances when there is compelling evidence that such access would cause serious harm to the client. Both clients’ requests and the rationale for withholding some or all of the record should be documented in clients’ files.
(b) When providing clients with access to their records, social workers should take steps to protect the confidentiality of other individuals identified or discussed in such records.
1.09 Sexual Relationships
(a) Social workers should under no circumstances engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with current clients, whether such contact is consensual or forced.
(b) Social workers should not engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with clients’ relatives or other individuals with whom clients maintain a close personal relationship when there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. Sexual activity or sexual contact with clients’ relatives or other individuals with whom clients maintain a personal relationship has the potential to be harmful to the client and may make it difficult for the social worker and client to maintain appropriate professional boundaries. Social workers—not their clients, their clients’ relatives, or other individuals with whom the client maintains a personal relationship—assume the full burden for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
(c) Social workers should not engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with former clients because of the potential for harm to the client. If social workers engage in conduct contrary to this prohibition or claim that an exception to this prohibition is warranted because of extraordinary circumstances, it is social workers—not their clients—who assume the full burden of demonstrating that the former client has not been exploited, coerced, or manipulated, intentionally or unintentionally.
(d) Social workers should not provide clinical services to individuals with whom they have had a prior sexual relationship. Providing clinical services to a former sexual partner has the potential to be harmful to the individual and is likely to make it difficult for the social worker and individual to maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
1.10 Physical Contact
Social workers should not engage in physical contact with clients when there is a possibility of psychological harm to the client as a result of the contact (such as cradling or caressing clients). Social workers who engage in appropriate physical contact with clients are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern such physical contact.
1.11 Sexual Harassment
Social workers should not sexually harass clients. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, sexual solicitation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
1.12 Derogatory Language
Social workers should not use derogatory language in their written or verbal communications to or about clients. Social workers should use accurate and respectful language in all communications to and about clients.
1.13 Payment for Services
(a) When setting fees, social workers should ensure that the fees are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the services performed. Consideration should be given to clients’ ability to pay.
(b) Social workers should avoid accepting goods or services from clients as payment for professional services. Bartering arrangements, particularly involving services, create the potential for conflicts of interest, exploitation, and inappropriate boundaries in social workers’ relationships with clients. Social workers should explore and may participate in bartering only in very limited circumstances when it can be demonstrated that such arrangements are an accepted practice among professionals in the local community, considered to be essential for the provision of services, negotiated without coercion, and entered into at the client’s initiative and with the client’s informed consent. Social workers who accept goods or services from clients as payment for professional services assume the full burden of demonstrating that this arrangement will not be detrimental to the client or the professional relationship.
(c) Social workers should not solicit a private fee or other remuneration for providing services to clients who are entitled to such available services through the social workers’ employer or agency.
1.14 Clients Who Lack Decision-Making Capacity
When social workers act on behalf of clients who lack the capacity to make informed decisions, social workers should take reasonable steps to safeguard the interests and rights of those clients.
1.15 Interruption of Services
Social workers should make reasonable efforts to ensure continuity of services in the event that services are interrupted by factors such as unavailability, relocation, illness, disability, or death.
1.16 Termination of Services
(a) Social workers should terminate services to clients and professional relationships with them when such services and relationships are no longer required or no longer serve the clients’ needs or interests.
(b) Social workers should take reasonable steps to avoid abandoning clients who are still in need of services. Social workers should withdraw services precipitously only under unusual circumstances, giving careful consideration to all factors in the situation and taking care to minimize possible adverse effects. Social workers should assist in making appropriate arrangements for continuation of services when necessary.
(c) Social workers in fee-for-service settings may terminate services to clients who are not paying an overdue balance if the financial contractual arrangements have been made clear to the client, if the client does not pose an imminent danger to self or others, and if the clinical and other consequences of the current nonpayment have been addressed and discussed with the client.
(d) Social workers should not terminate services to pursue a social, financial, or sexual relationship with a client.
(e) Social workers who anticipate the termination or interruption of services to clients should notify clients promptly and seek the transfer, referral, or continuation of services in relation to the clients’ needs and preferences.
(f) Social workers who are leaving an employment setting should inform clients of appropriate options for the continuation of services and of the benefits and risks of the options.
2. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO COLLEAGUES
(a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues.
(b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues’ level of competence or to individuals’ attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.
(c) Social workers should cooperate with social work colleagues and with colleagues of other professions when such cooperation serves the well-being of clients.
Social workers should respect confidential information shared by colleagues in the course of their professional relationships and transactions. Social workers should ensure that such colleagues understand social workers’ obligation to respect confidentiality and any exceptions related to it.
2.03 Interdisciplinary Collaboration
(a) Social workers who are members of an interdisciplinary team should participate in and contribute to decisions that affect the well-being of clients by drawing on the perspectives, values, and experiences of the social work profession. Professional and ethical obligations of the interdisciplinary team as a whole and of its individual members should be clearly established.
(b) Social workers for whom a team decision raises ethical concerns should attempt to resolve the disagreement through appropriate channels. If the disagreement cannot be resolved, social workers should pursue other avenues to address their concerns consistent with client well-being.
2.04 Disputes Involving Colleagues
(a) Social workers should not take advantage of a dispute between a colleague and an employer to obtain a position or otherwise advance the social workers’ own interests.
(b) Social workers should not exploit clients in disputes with colleagues or engage clients in any inappropriate discussion of conflicts between social workers and their colleagues.
(a) Social workers should seek the advice and counsel of colleagues whenever such consultation is in the best interests of clients.
(b) Social workers should keep themselves informed about colleagues’ areas of expertise and competencies. Social workers should seek consultation only from colleagues who have demonstrated knowledge, expertise, and competence related to the subject of the consultation.
(c) When consulting with colleagues about clients, social workers should disclose the least amount of information necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation.
2.06 Referral for Services
(a) Social workers should refer clients to other professionals when the other professionals’ specialized knowledge or expertise is needed to serve clients fully or when social workers believe that they are not being effective or making reasonable progress with clients and that additional service is required.
(b) Social workers who refer clients to other professionals should take appropriate steps to facilitate an orderly transfer of responsibility. Social workers who refer clients to other professionals should disclose, with clients’ consent, all pertinent information to the new service providers. (c) Social workers are prohibited from giving or receiving payment for a referral when no professional service is provided by the referring social worker.
2.07 Sexual Relationships
(a) Social workers who function as supervisors or educators should not engage in sexual activities or contact with supervisees, students, trainees, or other colleagues over whom they exercise professional authority.
(b) Social workers should avoid engaging in sexual relationships with colleagues when there is potential for a conflict of interest. Social workers who become involved in, or anticipate becoming involved in, a sexual relationship with a colleague have a duty to transfer professional responsibilities, when necessary, to avoid a conflict of interest.
2.08 Sexual Harassment
Social workers should not sexually harass supervisees, students, trainees, or colleagues. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, sexual solicitation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
2.09 Impairment of Colleagues
(a) Social workers who have direct knowledge of a social work colleague’s impairment that is due to personal problems, psychosocial distress, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties and that interferes with practice effectiveness should consult with that colleague when feasible and assist the colleague in taking remedial action.
(b) Social workers who believe that a social work colleague’s impairment interferes with practice effectiveness and that the colleague has not taken adequate steps to address the impairment should take action through appropriate channels established by employers, agencies, NASW, licensing and regulatory bodies, and other professional organizations.
2.10 Incompetence of Colleagues
(a) Social workers who have direct knowledge of a social work colleague’s incompetence should consult with that colleague when feasible and assist the colleague in taking remedial action.
(b) Social workers who believe that a social work colleague is incompetent and has not taken adequate steps to address the incompetence should take action through appropriate channels established by employers, agencies, NASW, licensing and regulatory bodies, and other professional organizations.
2.11 Unethical Conduct of Colleagues
(a) Social workers should take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct the unethical conduct of colleagues.
(b) Social workers should be knowledgeable about established policies and procedures for handling concerns about colleagues’ unethical behavior. Social workers should be familiar with national, state, and local procedures for handling ethics complaints. These include policies and procedures created by NASW, licensing and regulatory bodies, employers, agencies, and other professional organizations.
(c) Social workers who believe that a colleague has acted unethically should seek resolution by discussing their concerns with the colleague when feasible and when such discussion is likely to be productive.
(d) When necessary, social workers who believe that a colleague has acted unethically should take action through appropriate formal channels (such as contacting a state licensing board or regulatory body, an NASW committee on inquiry, or other professional ethics committees).
(e) Social workers should defend and assist colleagues who are unjustly charged with unethical conduct.
3. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN PRACTICE SETTINGS
3.01 Supervision and Consultation
(a) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation should have the necessary knowledge and skill to supervise or consult appropriately and should do so only within their areas of knowledge and competence.
(b) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
(c) Social workers should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with supervisees in which there is a risk of exploitation of or potential harm to the supervisee.
(d) Social workers who provide supervision should evaluate supervisees’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
3.02 Education and Training
(a) Social workers who function as educators, field instructors for students, or trainers should provide instruction only within their areas of knowledge and competence and should provide instruction based on the most current information and knowledge available in the profession.
(b) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should evaluate students’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
(c) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should take reasonable steps to ensure that clients are routinely informed when services are being provided by students.
(d) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with students in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the student. Social work educators and field instructors are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
3.03 Performance Evaluation
Social workers who have responsibility for evaluating the performance of others should fulfill such responsibility in a fair and considerate manner and on the basis of clearly stated criteria.
3.04 Client Records
(a) Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that documentation in records is accurate and reflects the services provided.
(b) Social workers should include sufficient and timely documentation in records to facilitate the delivery of services and to ensure continuity of services provided to clients in the future.
(c) Social workers’ documentation should protect clients’ privacy to the extent that is possible and appropriate and should include only information that is directly relevant to the delivery of services.
(d) Social workers should store records following the termination of services to ensure reasonable future access. Records should be maintained for the number of years required by state statutes or relevant contracts.
Social workers should establish and maintain billing practices that accurately reflect the nature and extent of services provided and that identify who provided the service in the practice setting.
3.06 Client Transfer
(a) When an individual who is receiving services from another agency or colleague contacts a social worker for services, the social worker should carefully consider the client’s needs before agreeing to provide services. To minimize possible confusion and conflict, social workers should discuss with potential clients the nature of the clients’ current relationship with other service providers and the implications, including possible benefits or risks, of entering into a relationship with a new service provider.
(b) If a new client has been served by another agency or colleague, social workers should discuss with the client whether consultation with the previous service provider is in the client’s best interest.
(a) Social work administrators should advocate within and outside their agencies for adequate resources to meet clients’ needs.
(b) Social workers should advocate for resource allocation procedures that are open and fair. When not all clients’ needs can be met, an allocation procedure should be developed that is nondiscriminatory and based on appropriate and consistently applied principles.
(c) Social workers who are administrators should take reasonable steps to ensure that adequate agency or organizational resources are available to provide appropriate staff supervision.
(d) Social work administrators should take reasonable steps to ensure that the working environment for which they are responsible is consistent with and encourages compliance with the NASW Code of Ethics. Social work administrators should take reasonable steps to eliminate any conditions in their organizations that violate, interfere with, or discourage compliance with the Code.
3.08 Continuing Education and Staff Development
Social work administrators and supervisors should take reasonable steps to provide or arrange for continuing education and staff development for all staff for whom they are responsible. Continuing education and staff development should address current knowledge and emerging developments related to social work practice and ethics.
3.09 Commitments to Employers
(a) Social workers generally should adhere to commitments made to employers and employing organizations.
(b) Social workers should work to improve employing agencies’ policies and procedures and the efficiency and effectiveness of their services.
(c) Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that employers are aware of social workers’ ethical obligations as set forth in the NASW Code of Ethics and of the implications of those obligations for social work practice.
(d) Social workers should not allow an employing organization’s policies, procedures, regulations, or administrative orders to interfere with their ethical practice of social work. Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that their employing organizations’ practices are consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics.
(e) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate discrimination in the employing organization’s work assignments and in its employment policies and practices.
(f) Social workers should accept employment or arrange student field placements only in organizations that exercise fair personnel practices.
(g) Social workers should be diligent stewards of the resources of their employing organizations, wisely conserving funds where appropriate and never misappropriating funds or using them for unintended purposes.
3.10 Labor-Management Disputes
(a) Social workers may engage in organized action, including the formation of and participation in labor unions, to improve services to clients and working conditions.
(b) The actions of social workers who are involved in labor-management disputes, job actions, or labor strikes should be guided by the profession’s values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. Reasonable differences of opinion exist among social workers concerning their primary obligation as professionals during an actual or threatened labor strike or job action. Social workers should carefully examine relevant issues and their possible impact on clients before deciding on a course of action.
4. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES AS PROFESSIONALS
(a) Social workers should accept responsibility or employment only on the basis of existing competence or the intention to acquire the necessary competence.
(b) Social workers should strive to become and remain proficient in professional practice and the performance of professional functions. Social workers should critically examine and keep current with emerging knowledge relevant to social work. Social workers should routinely review the professional literature and participate in continuing education relevant to social work practice and social work ethics.
(c) Social workers should base practice on recognized knowledge, including empirically based knowledge, relevant to social work and social work ethics.
Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.
4.03 Private Conduct
Social workers should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibilities.
4.04 Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deception
Social workers should not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud, or deception.
(a) Social workers should not allow their own personal problems, psychosocial distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties to interfere with their professional judgment and performance or to jeopardize the best interests of people for whom they have a professional responsibility.
(b) Social workers whose personal problems, psychosocial distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties interfere with their professional judgment and performance should immediately seek consultation and take appropriate remedial action by seeking professional help, making adjustments in workload, terminating practice, or taking any other steps necessary to protect clients and others.
(a) Social workers should make clear distinctions between statements made and actions engaged in as a private individual and as a representative of the social work profession, a professional social work organization, or the social worker’s employing agency.
(b) Social workers who speak on behalf of professional social work organizations should accurately represent the official and authorized positions of the organizations.
(c) Social workers should ensure that their representations to clients, agencies, and the public of professional qualifications, credentials, education, competence, affiliations, services provided, or results to be achieved are accurate. Social workers should claim only those relevant professional credentials they actually possess and take steps to correct any inaccuracies or misrepresentations of their credentials by others.
(a) Social workers should not engage in uninvited solicitation of potential clients who, because of their circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence, manipulation, or coercion.
(b) Social workers should not engage in solicitation of testimonial endorsements (including solicitation of consent to use a client’s prior statement as a testimonial endorsement) from current clients or from other people who, because of their particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence.
4.08 Acknowledging Credit
(a) Social workers should take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed.
(b) Social workers should honestly acknowledge the work of and the contributions made by others.
5. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE SOCIAL WORK PROFESSION
5.01 Integrity of the Profession
(a) Social workers should work toward the maintenance and promotion of high standards of practice.
(b) Social workers should uphold and advance the values, ethics, knowledge, and mission of the profession. Social workers should protect, enhance, and improve the integrity of the profession through appropriate study and research, active discussion, and responsible criticism of the profession.
(c) Social workers should contribute time and professional expertise to activities that promote respect for the value, integrity, and competence of the social work profession. These activities may include teaching, research, consultation, service, legislative testimony, presentations in the community, and participation in their professional organizations.
(d) Social workers should contribute to the knowledge base of social work and share with colleagues their knowledge related to practice, research, and ethics. Social workers should seek to contribute to the profession’s literature and to share their knowledge at professional meetings and conferences.
(e) Social workers should act to prevent the unauthorized and unqualified practice of social work.
5.02 Evaluation and Research
(a) Social workers should monitor and evaluate policies, the implementation of programs, and practice interventions.
(b) Social workers should promote and facilitate evaluation and research to contribute to the development of knowledge.
(c) Social workers should critically examine and keep current with emerging knowledge relevant to social work and fully use evaluation and research evidence in their professional practice.
(d) Social workers engaged in evaluation or research should carefully consider possible consequences and should follow guidelines developed for the protection of evaluation and research participants. Appropriate institutional review boards should be consulted.
(e) Social workers engaged in evaluation or research should obtain voluntary and written informed consent from participants, when appropriate, without any implied or actual deprivation or penalty for refusal to participate; without undue inducement to participate; and with due regard for participants’ well-being, privacy, and dignity. Informed consent should include information about the nature, extent, and duration of the participation requested and disclosure of the risks and benefits of participation in the research.
(f) When evaluation or research participants are incapable of giving informed consent, social workers should provide an appropriate explanation to the participants, obtain the participants’ assent to the extent they are able, and obtain written consent from an appropriate proxy.
(g) Social workers should never design or conduct evaluation or research that does not use consent procedures, such as certain forms of naturalistic observation and archival research, unless rigorous and responsible review of the research has found it to be justified because of its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and unless equally effective alternative procedures that do not involve waiver of consent are not feasible.
(h) Social workers should inform participants of their right to withdraw from evaluation and research at any time without penalty.
(i) Social workers should take appropriate steps to ensure that participants in evaluation and research have access to appropriate supportive services.
(j) Social workers engaged in evaluation or research should protect participants from unwarranted physical or mental distress, harm, danger, or deprivation.
(k) Social workers engaged in the evaluation of services should discuss collected information only for professional purposes and only with people professionally concerned with this information.
(l) Social workers engaged in evaluation or research should ensure the anonymity or confidentiality of participants and of the data obtained from them. Social workers should inform participants of any limits of confidentiality, the measures that will be taken to ensure confidentiality, and when any records containing research data will be destroyed.
(m) Social workers who report evaluation and research results should protect participants’ confidentiality by omitting identifying information unless proper consent has been obtained authorizing disclosure.
(n) Social workers should report evaluation and research findings accurately. They should not fabricate or falsify results and should take steps to correct any errors later found in published data using standard publication methods.
(o) Social workers engaged in evaluation or research should be alert to and avoid conflicts of interest and dual relationships with participants, should inform participants when a real or potential conflict of interest arises, and should take steps to resolve the issue in a manner that makes participants’ interests primary.
(p) Social workers should educate themselves, their students, and their colleagues about responsible research practices.
6. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE BROADER SOCIETY
6.01 Social Welfare
Social workers should promote the general welfare of society, from local to global levels, and the development of people, their communities, and their environments. Social workers should advocate for living conditions conducive to the fulfillment of basic human needs and should promote social, economic, political, and cultural values and institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.
6.02 Public Participation
Social workers should facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policies and institutions.
6.03 Public Emergencies
Social workers should provide appropriate professional services in public emergencies to the greatest extent possible.
6.04 Social and Political Action
(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.
(b) Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups.
(c) Social workers should promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity within the United States and globally. Social workers should promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, support the expansion of cultural knowledge and resources, advocate for programs and institutions that demonstrate cultural competence, and promote policies that safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people.
(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.
These days insurance can certainly be confusing. To help you determine what insurance we accept based on your plans, we have created the following lists. If you have any questions about your coverage, first, try calling the customer service department listed on your insurance card. If that is not helpful, you can call us at 847.265.7300 and our billing specialist will help you the best she can.
In-Network Preferred Providers
Providers under Mental Health Plans
Patient Forms, Surveys, and Intake Packets
We offer copies of all of our policies, procedures, and forms online. For your convenience, you may download and complete our New Client Intake Packet and bring it in to your first appointment. All of our policies, forms, and documents can be found on our Forms & Registration page. With the numerous reports of internet security breaches in major companies, we will only have certain forms and surveys available for submission online to protect all personal and confidential information.
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