Topic Number2.3.13Effective Date

July 1, 2013 (rev)

October 1, 2016 (rev)

January 1, 2017

ProcedureMaintaining Appropriate Staff/Consumer Boundaries
PurposeTo document ethical standards and expectations governing staff/consumer boundaries at WWRC
Accountability Indicators
  • All WWRC employees treat all consumers with respect and dignity.
  • WWRC employees maintain professional and therapeutic relationship boundaries at all times. 
  • All WWRC employees understand resources available to them in resolving staff/consumer boundary issues and the consequences if boundary issues exist. 
Policy Reference
Detailed Governance ReferenceN/A
Executive Staff ContactMike Kelley, Dean of Students and Director Residential Services/Rehabilitation Counseling Divisions

 

Every Day in Every Way We….. 

Put Our Clients First

Take Care of Customers

Work in Teams

Value our Staff

Are Organized, Utilized, and Valuable

Preserve Leadership Ethics, Accountability, Center Values, and Public Trust

 

Governance Procedures

All WWRC employees are expected to treat persons served with respect and dignity and to maintain professional and therapeutic relationship boundaries at all times.   All WWRC employees are expected to act as a role model in behavior and social skills for consumers and to refrain from behavior that might be perceived by others as a having dual relationship with WWRC consumers.  A dual relationship is when you have a work relationship and at the same time have a personal relationship with a consumer.  Validated violations are subject to Commonwealth of Virginia and Agency Human Resource Standards of Conduct policies, regulations and guidelines.

 

What is a Staff/Consumer Boundary Issue?

 

If any of the following types of actions or situations are present, a potential boundary issue exists between a WWRC employee and consumer – this list is not intended to be exhaustive, rather provides a sampling of examples.

 

 

What is a Staff/Consumer Boundary Issue?

 

If any of the following types of actions or situations are present, a potential boundary issue exists between a WWRC employee and consumer – this list is not intended to be exhaustive, rather provides a sampling of examples.

 

  • Evidence of consumer abuse or neglect of any kind (physical, sexual, psychological, and/or verbal)
  • Receipt of gifts of material value from WWRC consumers and/or their families
  • Personal and/or intimate relationships between WWRC employees and consumers served
  • Sharing or comparing personal life issues, stories, concerns, and/or problems with WWRC consumers. 

     

    Note:  Current ethics experts indicate that self-disclosure is considered appropriate only if it is anticipated to result in educational or therapeutic benefit for the client.   
  • Prior relationship between WWRC employees and consumers served
  • Disclosure of information with WWRC consumers that is confidential, personal, or private
  • Buying, selling, trading, bartering, and/or other transferring of merchandise, goods, services, or property between WWRC employees and consumers served
  • 'Friending' or otherwise communicating with WWRC consumers using social media
  • Supplying, sharing, or facilitating the acquisition of alcohol, drugs, or weapons for WWRC consumers.
  • Demonstrating behaviors that may be perceived by others as showing favoritism to any given WWRC consumer for any reason

 

Discretion should be used when interacting with WWRC consumers in a public place during off-work hours and/or after a consumer's discharge from the Center.

 

What Do I Do If a Potential Boundary Issue Exists?

 

If a WWRC employee believes a real or potential boundary issue exists, s/he should immediately report this to their supervisor and/or Division Director.  The supervisor and/or Division Director is/are expected to investigate further to validate or invalidate the observation and to take appropriate action, if any, based on the circumstances. 

 

If a prior relationship exists with a WWRC consumer, a WWRC employee is expected to immediately inform his/her supervisor and/or Division Director and the WWRC consumer's assigned Rehabilitation Counselor.  The WWRC Rehabilitation Team is expected to determine a plan to ensure the highest quality care that avoids conflict of interest, maintains confidentiality, and preserves ethical boundaries for the WWRC consumer.