Empowering users in health and social care
Empowerment is referred to as the general capacity of communities, groups, individuals to gain control over specific circumstances and achieve own objectives and goals to work towards helping others and themselves to maximize their quality of lives. Empowerment is an essential part of health and social care services (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2008). In health and social care units several rules and regulations, policies as well as procedures are implemented for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all employees and individuals.
1.1 How current legislations and sector skills standards influence organizational policy for promoting and maximising the rights of health and social care users.
The main aim of legislation is to eliminate promote several positive outcomes, direct as well as indirect discrimination, guide individuals in care practise and also allow them to improve their knowledge from the past mistakes. Both policies and legislation keeps changing with time to protect and serve the clients from facing discrimination. Implementation of new policies helps the care service providers to give better service to the care service users (Nolan, 2005). The current legislations that help in maximizing the rights of health and social care users are as follow:
- The Equality act first came into action within United Kingdom in the year 2010 and it includes all the basic and common rights of an individual. It specifies that all public organizations and firms must treat the individuals equally regards to respect, dignity and fairness. This policy has helped in promoting rights of individual service users as they are able to complain or raise grievances against the quality of health care service that the health care service providers offer.
- The care standard act 2014, introduced by care standards commission empowers the service users by ensuring care for the vulnerable people. The care standard commission is responsible for making arrangements for inspection and publication of the national minimum standards. The main importance of this act is that it is developed in joint venture with voluntary agencies, health managers, health professionals, care givers and care takers. The main motive of the act is to extend the regulation of health and social care by caring the vulnerable people in efficient and effective manner, in order to facilitate the care standards and maintain consistency in regulation of the provided services. It is an essential fact that the health and social care organizations like nursing homes, hospitals, care homes, agencies related to home care are registered with “Care Standards Act”. This act ensure bi-annual inspections of the health and social care units where the inspectors inspect the quality of health care provided to the service users by interacting with the patients, their families, or other services users.
- Disability discrimination act 2015 ensures that proper and equal quality of treatment and care is provided to the physically challenged or disabled people. It ensures that the home care agencies, hospitals do not discriminate people on the grounds of disability. The act also ensures that proper housing and latest technological equipments are provided to the disabled individuals to improve the quality of care towards them. They should be treated well like all other normal individuals along with some extra added benefits.
The care workers should promote the rights of users of health and social care to maintain high quality of services. The services users have right to make their own decisions even if the decisions are complex, make choices on their own towards choosing the service providers and also to maintain dignity and privacy. Factors that help in promoting and maximizing the rights of users of health and social care are as follows:
- Allowing the service users to make rightful decisions and also take risks. However the risks should be assessed and the users must be advised to modify their decisions accordingly.
- The care users must have access to the relevant information required by them while making a choice regarding health care providers. Before getting admitted to health care institutions the health care users must be able to judge the positive and negative aspects of the institutions by gathering appropriate and accurate information.
- They must be given the right to perform the religious activities and prayers within the health care institutions.
- The users of the social and health care should have the privilege to build relationship with the people they want to be with. They should be given the right to communicate and become friends with the people they like.
- The users should have the rights to maintain confidentiality regarding the personal information and data that they disclose to the care givers. Data privacy is an essential right of the users of health and social care.
- The users have the full right to receive service from the care givers with full dignity. The care givers must show respect towards the health care users irrespective of their caste, gender, age, religion, etc.
According to Burgess, Shaw and Kellas (2011), different kinds of communication forms is required to maximize the rights of the health care users. Communication between the service users and care workers must be effective to promote the rights of the uses efficiently.
- Issues in communication: effective communication is required between the service users and the service givers. Some patients are unable to understand the language spoken or written by the doctors, nurses, and other service provider people as they have certain impairment. This often leads to miscommunication between both the parties. Sometimes the patients prefer speaking in their mother tongue language which is not understood by the doctors and nurses and hence they fail to understand their needs and demands for care. The service givers must be well aware of their tone of voice and body language while speaking to the patients (Care act 2014). The service givers must be polite and courteous in nature so that do not facilitate fear or feeling of being threatened in the patients (Kemshall and Littlechild, 2009).
- Culture, beliefs and attitudes: United Kingdom experiences several kinds of people visiting the health and social are units from different parts of the world. The doctors and nurses sometimes fail to understand the cultural requirements of the patients and hence proper measures must be taken to adequately train and develop the care workers to act according to the needs of the service users (social care act, 2014).
2.1 Explain factors that may contribute to loss of independence, non-participation and social exclusion for vulnerable people.
No or less work opportunities: differently-abled or vulnerable people experience a very few work opportunities. Insufficient working opportunities leads to arrival of negative thoughts in the minds of vulnerable people which leads to less participation and social exclusion of such individuals (Ramon, 2007).
- Dependence on other: the vulnerable people have to depend on other able bodied individuals to perform a particular task. They face abuses from their peers or relatives and families for their disability to work alone which leads to evolution of fear among the vulnerable people to ask for help.
- Lack of skills and education: the people with vulnerabilities are discouraged for doing higher studies. Therefore majority of the vulnerable people are uneducated and find difficulty in communicating with the other sector of people. This often leads to social exclusion of vulnerable individuals.
- Fear: the vulnerable often face abuses from others for creating unfavourable situations in different places. The fear of getting abused and their requirement for friendly environment around them often leads to no-participation and exclusion from social activities.
- Family culture: the families in which the vulnerable people are born and brought up are often ashamed of the disabilities of the vulnerable people and hence they restrict them from participating in social activities. This affects the mindset of the vulnerable people and they remain confined to within their homes (Winter and Munn-Giddings, 2010).
2.2 Analyse how organisational systems and processes are managed to promote participation and independence of users of health and social care services
According to Kemshall and Littlechild (2009), encouraging an individual’s potentiality, training of staffs, proper guidelines to work independently, etc can help in promoting participation by organization systems and processes. Some of the processes and systems are explained below:
- Access to information: the staffs of the health and social care units must be able to access the information that they require to guide the users accordingly and effectively. They should be up-to-date with the information regarding social and health care services for improved participation of the users.
- Cost effective services: the services offered by the health and social care units must not be very expensive so that the users can afford to participate and involve themselves into social care services.
- Training of staffs: the staffs and employees must be given adequate training so that they are able to support the service users. Effective care and support from the staffs can lead to increased participation of the service users.
- Organizational responsiveness and commitment: the organizations must be able to promote the good quality of services that they provide to the service users. The staffs and people associated with imparting health and social care services must be able to assure and commit premium quality of services that will effectively increase the participation of the users.
- Awareness: the health and social care service users must be aware of their rights, information related to health and social care, effectiveness of treatments for more engagement and participation. This can be implemented by encouraging the staffs to spread awareness among the users with the help of campaigns and programs related to health and social care.
Several conflicts and tension might arise while balancing the rights of service users to work independently and choices of care provider’s duty to protect them. These conflicts can arise between the clients and the staffs, patients and the care provider’s staffs, children and their families, etc. For instance, patients suffering from the disease dementia can cause trouble to the duties of the care provider (Nolan, 2010). If they prefer going to some places without the help of others the staffs needs to give them the permission to go alone. However several risks might arise like the patient might cause harm to other patients, might face difficulty in retrieving the path, their aggressive nature and behaviour might harm other people in the health care unit, etc. Hence, the service provider’s staffs often faces dilemma in making decisions in choosing duties and at the same time abiding the demands of the patients. Similarly the independent nature of a delicate and frail patient might cause harm to other people as well as lead to evolution of tensions. If the frail patients falls down and hurts themselves the family members and relatives of the service user might blame the staffs for not carrying out their responsibilities and duties properly despite the staff had no fault on their side. This leads to misinterpretations and conflicts among the people associated with service providers and the service users.
3.1 Identify the extent to which individuals are at risk of harm in context of a case study
According to a case study the following risks of harm that the individuals might face during their treatment phase from the service providers are as follows:
- Tripp was a health care service provider employee who was identified to abuse some elderly clients under his care. Due to lack of proper knowledge and abusive nature of Mr. Tripp it has been reported that he had poured stocking and cold water on 79 years old lady to improve her health condition (Stretch, 2007).This could have led to paralysis, heart attack or chocking to the elderly lady.
- Similarly a patient suffering from dementia was abused by Mr. Tripp for not following instructions. This led to increased aggressiveness in the patient that could have harmed other patients in the service care unit. The patient after sometime was observed to be isolated and had no interest in participating in social activities.
- Another incident was also observed that Mr. Tripp had physically abused an old lady during her treatment. The lady was unaware of the fact and thought it to be a part of the treatment. This could have led to causing harm to the patient physically.
- Therefore it is evident that risks like mental and physical abuse, negligence of privacy, dignity, self-esteem and safety of the individuals is prevalent in health and social care services.
3.2 Analyse the effectiveness of policies, procedures and managerial approach within a health or social care setting for promoting the management of risks.
According to Ramon (2007), every service provider must ensure effective managerial approach, procedures and policies to promote the management of risks.
- The service providers must adhere to the rules and regulations, legislations and procedures within the organization to minimize the chances of risks and to protect the rights of service user efficiently. These service providers like nursing homes and hospitals must ensure protection of the service users from abuses and harm. This can be implemented by proper monitoring the working and performance of the staffs of the service provides.
- Identification and analysis of probable risks and taking counteractive measures to eliminate the risk timely and efficiently can help in promoting the management of risks.
- The complaints and grievances raised by the patients or other service users must be entertained immediately to ensure proper protection of the individuals from any probable risks. Documenting the complaints and resolving the issues is also helpful in promoting management of risks (Percy-Smith, 2000).
4.1 Review current legislation, codes of practice and policy that apply to the handling of medication
Certain legislations, guidance, laws and policies are adopted for handling medication and also maintaining its storage, disposal, administration and recording. Some of the codes of practices and legislations are as follows:
- Medicines act (1968): this act has provided a framework in which the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, surgeons can administer medications. In account of this act, a drug seller requires to possess a valid license to dispose or prescribe medicines to the service users. A renewal process needs to be done after every five years failing which can lead to cancellation of the license.
- Drug act (2005): it is a strong and strict law to eliminate or reduce the misuse of several drugs. The users with valid prescription from doctor are entitled to receive drugs. The pharmacists issuing drugs without proper prescription from the user can be reported against at the courts of UK.
- Public health regulation (2002): according to this law an eligible nurse only can handle medications and its administration to ensure better quality of care in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
- Pharmacy regulations (2008): this regulation aims to develop some energetic and efficient pharmacists for United Kingdom’s service care business.
- Prescriptions order (2007): this law and regulation claims that retailers and the wholesalers can market or sell medicines only if they are recognized by a relevant practitioner.
According to Stanhope and Lancaster (2008), a considerable reduction in risks pertaining to medications after implementing the policies and procedures of administering medications have been noticed. The effectiveness’s are as follows:
- Medications and medicines prescribed to the service users have been recorded and documented according to the administering procedure to reduce future risks.
- The side effects, ill effects of drugs or medicines are checked over the internet and other sources and if found unfit for the patients are immediately substituted by other medicines.
- The medications are prescribed effectively with appropriate mentioning of dosage, reason for medication and the number of times the patients should intake. This helps the nurses to provide medicines or drugs to the patients in a timely manner and without any mistake.
- The medicines are purchased from legal authorised pharmacy which ensures availability of authentic medicines for the patients. This has effectively reduced the misuse of drugs. The people who are actually authorised to purchase a medicine are attended by the pharmacists due to the presence of prescription. People unable to produce prescription during the time of purchase of medicine are not allowed to buy drugs. This has significantly reduced supply of medicines to the unintended patients or customers.
- The patients are allowed to choose between allopathic and homeopathic medicines as per their needs and requirements.
- The policies and procedures implemented has helped the pharmacists and the clinical to understand the medicines better as the prescribed medicines are written according to the abbreviations that are used in hospitals. This has ensured in reduction of handing over wrong drugs to the patients by the clinical.
- The well educated nurses in the health and social care units are able to administer, manage, track and prescribe effective medicines to the patients regularly.
- It has also helped in discarding the expired medicines by proper disposal means and filling up of the vacant stocks from authorized drug dealers.
- Deaths on account of inappropriate drug use have also reduced significantly after the implementation of policies and procedures in the health and social care units and medication (Winter and Munn-Giddings, 2010).
It is quite evident from the study that empowering users in health and social care sectors have effectively helped the sectors drastically. The study reveals the factors that specifically help in maximizing the rights of the service users and how the services users are benefitted from the rules, regulations, legislations implemented within the health and social care organizations (Alsop, 2013). It also focuses on the risks that the service users might face during the course of their treatment and how the risks can be effectively reduced by proper risk management approach.
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