Health and Social Care
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Interagency partnership is created at a formal organisational level, when two or more agencies agree to work together to share information or to jointly plan services they provide. On the other hand, inter-professional collaboration is how two or more people from different professions communicate and co-operate to achieve a common goal, focusing on the holistic welfare of the service user. The inter-professional partnerships also co-ordinates in order to ensure that, each professional's effort are acted upon, and to ensure that each practitioner is aware of what the others are doing. The children Act 1989 laid the foundation for inter-agency and inter-professional collaborations.
In order to clearly explain the benefits of interagency partner in health and social care I will look at some real life situation (case study) and show how the agencies collaborate to focus on the holistic wellbeing of the patient.
John is a 69 years old man and he lives alone. Four months ago, he was diagnosed with neuritis disease and he is been advised by his GP to undergo surgery to remove the damaged nerve but he is nervous about the surgery. As a result of his condition, he has been having difficulty with walking and he has to quit his job. He has started drinking in the evenings and also got a liver problem and because of these problems, he is depressed.
The ranges of professionals that are working with John to ensure that he gets the best of care include the following:
The first point of contact for John is the General Practitioner (GP). He was the health professional who diagnosed him of neuritis (Neuritis is the inflammation of the nerves, involving a single nerve or a series of nerves). The GP also prescribed mild anti-depressants to help reduced some of the depression that he is feeling and also to help him have a positive relationship with his neighbours to take an edge off his nervousness about the surgery.
The GP referred John to a counsellor to talk about his nervousness. The counsellor helped by giving him advise on how to deal with his nervous attitude concerning the surgery, the counsellor also helped by introducing John to a support group. The support group help John a lot because he realised that a lots of people successfully undergone the surgery.
The GP also refer him to alcohol rehabilitation centre. The rehab got John to understand; alcohol cannot solve the problem but compound it. In the rehabilitation centre, John met people in a similar situations, he make new friends and become hopeful again. Action plan and targets was set for him and with the help of the health and social professionals in the in the rehabilitation centre and his GP effective interaction, John meets all is targets and achieve most of his goals in his action plan.
The GP may refer him to a social worker and liaison with the GP; the social worker was able to provide transportation to take him to all his appointments and his support group session. The social worker can also inform John about the choice of work that may be available for him if he chose to work after the surgery. The social worker in liaison with the GP was able to provide John with a care worker. The care workers help at home with his daily living activities, as a result of his impaired mobility. The care workers also assist John to stay away from alcohol. The care workers also help to administer medications prescribed by the GP after the surgery to aid John in his recovery. The social service in liaison with the GP can provide transport for him after the surgery to places of socialisation so that he cannot be at home alone.
The GP referred him to a liver specialist to see the damage alcohol has caused to his liver. The liver specialist checked John and communicates his finding to the GP and other Professionals involved in John’s wellbeing.
John is also referred to the neurologist to talk more about his problem and also discuss the surgery procedures available to him. The neurologist will carry out the surgery to remove the damaged nerve. The neurologist will also advise him on how to cope with the after effect of the surgery.
The occupational therapist in liaison with the neurologist will determine what he needs in his home. For example, if the bed needs to be brought down stair so that he will be able to access his bed comfortably and also if he needs rails on the stairs to assist him with climbing up the stairs, a lift stairs or baths hoist. The occupational therapist in liaison with the GP will also be responsible for assessing John’s improvement and also what he needs to improve more.
The physiotherapist in liaison with the GP will devise an exercise plan for the John so that he will be able to regain total mobility and quickly. The physiotherapy should be able to encourage John to follow his exercise so that he can regain full and complete mobility.
The GP may refer him to an aromatic therapist. The aromatic therapy will help John to relax his nervous system and muscles so that he will be able to carry on his exercise plan.
The Benefits of Interagency and Inter-Professional Partnerships in John’s case.
Partnership working can be seen between the social worker and the occupational therapist by both supporting John in that they are working together to provide him with necessary equipment and support to allow him independency. The following are the benefit of partnership working.
Professionals that are working together will benefit both John and the professionals a lot because partnership working will maximise expertise. When professional keeps on working together, there will be increase in knowledge in their various fields making each of them to be very good in their various professional fields. When professionals are very knowledgeable in their different fields, they will be able to provide excellent services to the service user.
Partnership working builds hope and gives reassurance. When there are lots of health care professionals ready to provide services and also deliver holistic care, the individual with the health problem will have hope for recovery to a good health condition. For example, an individual with cancer may think that they are going die, but if they see the various health care professional that are to deliver health care to them, they might have hope for recovery.
When there is partnership working, there is the provision of integrated care. Integrated care ensures that the individual is able to get holistic health care service irrespective of their culture, race and gender. Integration also Integration also provides the various health care professional an avenue to learn from each other and broaden their knowledge. This will make them to be able to deliver a better holistic health care.
When professional are working together, the care that the individual receives becomes more transparent to the service user. For example, when the GP is delivering health care to the service user by combining the job of another health care professional, he/she may not understand the care that is been given to them but when there are different health care providers providing health care services to the service user, then they will be able to explain the care that is being delivered to the service user. When this happens, it is said that is transparency of care that is been provided to the service user.
Ways in which Agencies Work together to Benefit Individuals
Multidisciplinary working is when health and social care professionals, each with different skills, who work together to meet the individual needs of the service user. Their primary purpose is to concentrate on the holistic wellbeing of the individual they are assigned to; the teams may also fulfil a variety of additional functions. They can promote coordination between agencies; provide a "checks and balances" mechanism to ensure that the interests and rights of all concerned parties are addressed; and identify service gaps and breakdowns in coordination or communication between individuals. They also enhance the professional skills and knowledge of individual team members by providing a forum for learning more about the strategies, resources, and approaches used by various disciplines. In a nutshell, multi-disciplinary teams are put in place to leave-no-stone-unturned, when it comes to providing holistic care.
In order for the partnership to profit the service user, there must be effective and regular communication between health and social care professionals. In the case of social issue such as abuse, a social worker, family support worker and youth counsellor could work closely together to support the families. They would regard themselves as part of team and share information and have regular meetings and having formal discussions about progress, otherwise the partnership could fail.
If a service user has had a major operation such as knee cap replacement, he will need the services of a nurse to care and to change dressings and provide daily observe and assess his progress. He may also need a physiotherapist to help with his mobility. The surgeon who performed the operation will need to check on the service user’s overall progress. These are the professionals who work together hand-in-hand so that the service user makes a full recovery with no complications.
Inter-agency working is a partnership devised jointly by the agencies concerned in a person’s welfare to co-ordinate the services they provide. Its aim is to ensure that the support offered meets all the person’s needs, so far as this is practicable and that duplication and rivalry are avoided. The partnership should specify goals to be achieved, resources and services to be provided, the allocation of responsibilities, and arrangements for monitoring and reviews.
Inter-agency working is service user centred, which means the service users is the key player in the team and all other agencies fit onto them. They should be considered the important members of the team, and should be included in planning and decision making, this way they will get the best of the services and be satisfied. If the service user is not satisfied with the services will mean the inter-agency is failing.
Users services Forums
Service forums are usually made up of service users (individuals who use a particular services, example mental health and other long-term medical problems) and service providers (professionals such as doctors). The forums bring together health care professionals and their service users together to discuss health services provided and the level of satisfaction of these services.
The forum also discusses how services can be improved by listening to the users and the way they think services can be improved. It also addresses the government’s decisions and how it will affect service delivery, example the resent government cuts. Health professionals will discuss how the cuts will affect the services they access. Services forum as any of the health and social care partnerships is service user centred, it prioritise service users and the services they receive.
Users’ services forums also comments as a group on local services and influence those services.
Voluntary and Statutory Sector Liaison
Voluntary sector is an inclusive term for both charities and charitable organisations (not registered as charities), which undertake work of benefit to society. Many voluntary organisations employ staff to undertake a wide range of activities and many are of the size and stature of successful medium-sized businesses, although operating independently for the public good without profit distributing, examples of voluntary sectors are NSPCC, Age Concern, Cancer Research, etc.
The statutory sector involves all the organisations that are set up, controlled and funded by the government and are usually free at the delivery point, for example public school and NHS hospitals. The statutory sector is funded by people who pay taxes and national insurance etc.
These two sectors sometimes lay aside their professional differences to work together as a team to support the wellbeing of individuals. For instance the NSPCC works with the Children’s Service to protect children from abuse. Other voluntary organisations such as Cancer Research work hand in hand with the NHS to support cancer patients.
Integrated Workforce Agenda
Integrated workforce agenda is described the planning and actions that are needed to align workforces in different organisations so that improvement in services or efficiencies can be achieved. In some cases, it may take the form of shared strategies to address common workforce challenges such as recruitment or training. In other cases, it may run deeper, moving beyond training to deliver more profound cultural or behavioural change in ways of working both within and across agencies. In other instances, agencies may consider that a structural reform is needed with the establishment of merged or new entities.
When different agencies form partnership, they share common goals, which promote provision of integrated care. Integrated care ensures that an individual will be able to get holistic health care regardless of their culture, race and gender. Integrating agencies also provides various health care professional with the chance to learn from each other and broaden their knowledge. This will make them to be able to deliver a better holistic health care.
Integrating health care and social care illustrates clear understanding of the importance of integrating the workforces of agencies. Although integrating agencies to support the needs of individuals still have a long way to go, we can see the benefits of health care, social care, child care, police, teacher, etc. coming together and protecting individuals especially children. For instance if you take your child to A&E for treatment of injuries of any sort, social workers or child protection or the police, will turn-up at your door, if your child is absent from school for some time or go to school with any injury, the police, the child protection and or the social workers will be ringing your door bell. The same way if you child is in trouble with the law you will have questions to answer from the social services. This is how the agencies integrate their workforces to promote the wellbeing of individuals. It is because of the success of this integration the case of Baby P shook the country.
Factors that could Prevent Organisations Working Together
Long established tradition of highly focused professional practitioners cultivating a protective (and thus restrictive) boundary around their area of expertise could pose problems when they are to work transparently together with other professionals and agencies. Unwillingness of these professionals letting go of their expertise and work as a team could prevent organisations from working as a team.
A lot of the time, there is a lack of crucial communication, or miss-communication. Also, people tend to want different things from different agencies, and agencies may want different things to happen. Most of it is just that people aren't talking to each other often enough or going through things thoroughly enough.
Also, if one agency misses a deadline for completing something for the benefit of another agency/person, it can slow down processes which are already lengthy enough. In the current economic climate, missing deadlines is commonly due to lack of (competent) staff, and under training. Also, if agencies are relying on one another and they employ poorly trained staff, there are bound to be problems.
Adequate resourcing, in terms of funding, staffing and time, was found to be central to the success of multi-agency working. Whilst financial certainty and equity was important, inadequate or time-limited funding was identified as problematic. A rapid turnover of staff, recruitment difficulties and insufficient time allocated for multi-agency activity were also potential threats to its success.
Management and governance: In terms of management and governance, leadership was identified as the key aspect influencing multi-agency work. An absence of clear leadership and a lack of support from upper management were revealed as particularly damaging.