Project Transitions strives to maintain the confidentiality of its clients, residents, staff and volunteers. The following information is being provided to help you understand the application of and limits to confidentiality. This document is not intended to provide comprehensive legal information relating to confidentiality, but rather can be used to provide general guidelines.
All staff members and volunteers of Project Transitions agree to abide by the Confidentiality Policy of the organization before working within its’ programs. Information regarding residents and their care will be shared among paid staff and volunteers on a need-to-know basis.
Project Transitions requests that all residents, their families and friends respect the confidentiality of other residents, staff, and volunteers as well. If an individual violates confidentiality to the detriment of Project Transitions’ clients, families, staff, or volunteers, such an action may result in the resident’s discharge from the program.
In accordance with Texas law and Project Transitions’ Confidentiality Policy, all of the following information shall be kept confidential (with exceptions as provided below):
Any identifying information concerning a program resident, their family, friends, or significant other.
Any identifying information of program staff and volunteers.
All medical, social, and mental health information concerning a program resident. Any information related to service provision to residents discussed at all program sites.
All written records maintained on program residents.
The specific address of Doug’s House (hospice), Roosevelt Gardens (supportive living), Highland Terrace (transitional living) or any Community Housing (scattered site) location.
The telephone numbers of any program sites, except the Project Transitions Administrative Office and Top Drawer Thrift, unless otherwise instructed by program staff.
Rules of confidentiality apply to information given to family members and friends as well. A release form is provided to residents that that allows them to designate family and friends with whom we may discuss their illness.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
Under certain circumstances, Project Transitions may be required to release information without the resident’s authorization. In addition, there are legally-defined circumstances in which we may communicate with other service agencies and medical personnel without permission should it be necessary in order to continue providing services. In any of these cases, Project Transitions would only provide the information absolutely required under the circumstances, and we would work to avoid any release of information if at all possible.
The law may require or allow us to provide information to outside persons under the following circumstances:
When the client/resident and his or her Power of Attorney authorizes Project Transitions to provide information to others. Preferably, such authorization will be in writing.
When there is a reason to believe that a client may be at imminent risk of harm to him/herself, another person, or public/private property, Project Transitions has the legal and ethical option to warn law enforcement officials or a physician who may then take protective actions.
When a court of law orders Project Transitions to release information by subpoena, Project Transitions must comply with such an order.
When there is reason to believe that a minor, an elderly person, or a person with a disability (including persons with AIDS) is in danger of being, is being, or has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, or neglected, any person having such knowledge is obligated to report the information to proper authorities.
Confidentiality may not extend to criminal proceedings in Texas. Therefore, if client is presently, or will later become involved in a criminal proceeding, the client’s file may be opened for court inspection.
Application to Programs
1) Information will be made available to volunteers only as needed for proper care of residents and protection of the staff/volunteer.
2) Medical and social information will be shared only with family members and others designated by the resident to receive the information.
3) A residents’ identity will not be disclosed without his/her written consent. (Even taking a message for a resident on the telephone reveals his/her presence.)
4) Personal information shared by a resident with a volunteer should be kept confidential by staff/volunteers unless it is necessary to share this information with staff to facilitate the resident’s care OR it fits the description of the exceptions to confidentiality.
5) Staff/volunteers will not discuss residents or resident issues in common or public areas at any time.
6) All client records should be stored in a secure location and not available to those who are not authorized to have access. Volunteer and staff contact numbers should be equally protected.
7) The confidentiality of discharged or deceased residents should be protected and consistent with the preceding standards.
Any breach of this agreement will be seen as a serious infringement on the personal and legal rights of those who this agreement is designed to protect, and will result in corrective measures by the Project Transitions administration, up to and including termination from the agency.