Unit 20 : Supporting Independent Living

Pearson BTEC Level 4/5 HNC/D Diploma Health and Social Care – Unit 20 : Supporting Independent Living

Unit Description

This supporting independent living assignment is given in St. Patrick college for the HND Health and social care course, in this technological impact has been discussed with the current scenario.

Task 1

1.1 Explain how technology can be used to support users of health and social care services in living independently.

Advances in technology and medicine over the last few decades can benefit people with disabilities.  In the quest of enabling people with disabilities to have access to advances in medicine and technology, a change in social attitudes towards equitable medical treatment of people with disabilities and hence overcoming access barriers is very important.  In addition to all this, changes in medical practice and attitudes are essential for developments in medicine and technology, so as to have maximum impact on people with disabilities. It is noted, that these social and cultural shifts that drive both the development and accessibility of advanced medical care are necessary (Woolf, 2007).

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Disabled people are generally not aware of medical and technological advances that could help them to live more meaningful lives.  In addition to this, they may also not be able to afford to purchase or avail equipment or avail surgery or pharmaceutical advances. For example, assistive technology, which are used to assist patients with disability for smoother movement, learning & trainings, speech therapy and better communication in health and social care with external world etc., are particularly the high tech ones and are expensive This was mainly attributed to funding, competition and the conservative nature of education (Walker, 2003).

Medical technology advancements can be regarded as the sum total of techniques, equipment, drugs, and procedures used by health professionals for health promotion and the systems in which they are delivered to patients and individuals requiring specific care (Fleisher, 1998). Technological advances have benefited specific care and outcomes of the treatments by improving our understanding of disease mechanisms and the ability to improve diagnostic and therapeutic success (Lundberg & Alexanderson, 2007). All these advances have also served to increase the availability of effective therapeutic strategies and even provide cures to ailments that reduce life expectancy or quality of life (Mechanic, 2002).

HND health and social care Supporting independent living assignment

There has been a series of developments and emerging technologies which have come to rescue and help for the support of servicing the specific needs of patients like Sally, suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Some of the benefits of the emerging developments and technologies and their help in supporting patients to live independently are stated as –

the quality of life of patients has been improved through more effective and efficient treatments

patients are now enabled to remain in their homes rather than be admitted to a hospital or care homes and providing services at their convenience

remote testing and diagnosis with treatment is possible now, which means lesser visits to healthcare facilities

treatment times are reduced, which enhances a patients chances of full recovery and getting along with their normal lives

Clinicians are now being enabled to treat more patients more effectively

Patients are free to carry their routine daily work like driving, cooking, playing and going office etc.

With little assistance from technology the life of the patient gets better and patients can feel independent

Patients from diseases like MS can have assistive technology which may be life changing and saving like Mobility Assistive Technology (MAT)

Specialized functions required as prerequisites of work like typing, working on computers, talking, making notes etc. can be easily dealt with technologies like Personal Digital Assistant and Speech Recognition Software (Wanless, 2002)

1.2 Analyse barriers to the use of technology to support users of health and social care services in living independently.

Specific needs can be attributed to the needs of the human beings which are generated due to some kind of illness or disability. In health and social care, any diseased or sick person would have a proper procedure of getting fit or right back. There has to be a guideline or framework, directing every stakeholder in these circumstances for making that patient or person at the centre of all the “Care or Services” (Pennebaker, 1981).

As per the case, a patient suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) suffers from conditions and hence requires health and social care services with support from technology –

It is difficult to diagnose MS in early stages

There is an uncertainty over the relapse chances, remission and progression of the disease

There is no fool-proof Full Cure to this ailment

There is a huge cache of diverse symptoms and disabilities associated with MS

Inexperience in the General Practitioners or Doctors to deal with this disease

Handful number of super specialized Neurologists, which makes it difficult for them to give individual attention to each and every patient because of the huge numbers

This disease comes with many co-morbidity psychological factors too like Depression and Pain

The supports from technology in assisting patients with MS are already mentioned above and play an important role in making patients lead an independent life. It not only enriches the lives of patients with self-reliance and a complete support system, it also helps them to take charge of the situations and become independent with performing daily routine exercises in their lives like, cooking, driving, typing and working.

But despite the already mentioned excellent interventions provided by these emerging technologies, there are handfuls of barriers in adopting these technologies and hence aiding them or supporting role of public health to the health and social care sector. Some of the barriers are as follows –

Perceptions are the general preview or mind-set anticipation of an individual or a group of human beings against or for an event, person, status or activity/process/procedure

Perceptions about an individual’s health, illness and usage of aids and interventions, such as technology, have been since time immemorial dependant on the social, cultural, emotional and value based in almost all the geographies of the world

Severity of the disease, such as advance levels may severely cripple the movements of the patients

Psychological disorders arising due to the onset of the disease, such as depression, challenging behaviour and emotional distress may lead to non-usage of any technological intervention

Since, MS comes with a collaborative huge number of diverse symptoms and ailments associated with central ailment, it becomes really tricky for the GPs and Assistive Technology professionals to suggest and the usage by patients of technological interventions for each and every problem

Provisions and mind-set of general environment of the patient, for the usages and support of technology to the patient, changed guidelines at workplace, facility management at offices, or changes in work culture and accommodating specific needs of any employee with specific needs

Increased cost and affordability of the latest technological developments and interventions available for the support of health and social care users with MS

The general idea, notion or perception among the immediate family, relatives, friends and in general health and social care service providers in replacing physical care and presence by technological interventions and letting the patients be independent and self-reliant

1.3 Explain the benefits of these technologies to health and social care organisations and their users.

 

Some of the main areas of technological advancements and emerging developments for catering to support of servicing specific needs are as follows –

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IT & telecommunications, including decision support systems (DSS)

Molecular genetics advancements

Developments in biotechnology, enabling advances in genetics to be exploited

Development of bioengineering to produce artificial body parts and organs

Further developments in minimal access and super specialized surgeries

Use of robotics in surgery

In terms of Multiple Sclerosis following technologies have played a very important role –

Mobility Assistive Technology

Personal Digital Assistance

Hearing Aids

Eye Gears and Patches

Disease modulating medication

Surgeries and other symptomatic treatments for depression, incontinence and spasticity etc.

Further developments in transplantation (WHO, 1993)

The benefits these technologies carry for safeguarding in health and social care organizations and users or patients are as follows –

For organization –

Proper care planning process and framework being designed and implemented

Proper self-management technique to improve the communication for patients, doctors and staff

Proper care management teams

Improved experience of the patient

Ease of handling patients with specific needs and better patient management

Great support and aid in patient handling with performing or delivering many physically challenging assistances round the clock to the patient without getting directly involved

Remote patient management and centralization of efforts

Cost and resources saving and hence able to tackle larger number of care seekers that empowering users of health and social care

For Users –Change in behaviour and emotional outcomes

Happiness and content attitude developed

Enhancement of capabilities and learning abilities

Independent Lifestyles and more self-reliance

Ease of use to do daily routine works like cooking to washing and driving

Ease of carrying on with careers and home responsibilities

Confidence and motivation due to movements and avoiding disability

Making friends and acquaintances

Proper medication regime being adhered

Peaceful and cohabitation if in the service home

Coordinating and facilitating with support staff at the service home (Marinker, 1998)

Task 2

2.1 Explain health and safety considerations in the use of technologies in health and social care

Some of the Health and Safety considerations in using the technologies in health and social care-

Most people used to go for a diagnosis only when any disorder actually affected or troubled those people (Munn-Giddings, 2013), hence, generally the ill-informed and neglect ridden patients

All the relevant information, instructions, Do’s and Don’ts, supervisions and trainings are not provided to all the workforce implementing service care in the health and social care organizations

Lack of Legislative Guidelines having been drawn to ensure Quality Training Standards during inductions at the Health and Social Care setups regarding the usage of technology

No provision for a well-defined mechanism in place for both patients and staff to avoid any challenging behaviour by any of the stakeholders among the two sects

Lack of a well define Risk Assessment mechanism in place

Lack of proper training and engagement exercises with patients with proper understanding specific needs and going to technologically assisted with interventions

Lack of a proper well-structured and documented communication channel and process flow

People having chronic diseases, disability, and disambiguation, accidents and workplace trauma and hence dealing with impaired daily routine works and changed perception in their immediate environment

Service Users with specific needs falling in any of the above criteria for smooth operations and working post their incident need special care and a standard operating procedure (SOP)

Care workers go beyond their usual tasks to develop relationships beyond contractual obligations and hence disrupt complete transference of the patient to the assistive module

Care for people with physical disability as a tool through which others are able to dominate and manage our lives, sometimes lead to emotional and ethical issues

Skills need to be practiced continuously to preserve them, yet the occasional system failure denies the staff the opportunity to practice the skills needed in such an emergency, it is the part of their employability skills development

By taking away the easy parts of the job, automation can make the difficult aspects of the job more difficult

Measurement and metrics of any intervention or technological support activity going to be implemented, beforehand so as to be doubly sure and be cost, time and health benefits effective for the patients

Deployment and withdrawal symptoms and milestones be clearly marked and explained to all the stakeholders, for the technological aid associated with the or during the ongoing prognosis

2.2 Discuss ethical considerations in the use of assistive technologies.

Ethical Dilemmas are the ones, which arise during a crucial crisis and risk and which cannot be mitigated. The choices in such situations between two equally unsatisfactory alternatives make it more challenging. The crisis of choosing one out of two confusing paths put a dilemma in the minds of the health professionals. Use of assistive technology and any other emerging developments used to aid or support the patients with specific needs, such as Multiple Sclerosis have many equally confusing paths to choose from and hence present ethical dilemma. To mitigate these dilemmas, there are some ethical considerations to be made by the legislation, law making bodies, governments, practitioners and other stakeholders in health and social care services segment. Some of them are as follows –

Right to Self Determination – It is the ethical right of patient in choosing one’s own course of action out of the probable. The decision making and charge given to the patients has put a huge dilemma in health and social care providers

Confidentiality – The dilemma to share the information with patients and the extent of the details being divulged is the confidentiality prospect. Also, the information about a particular client not being divulged out and the dilemma in the extreme cases of suicidal behaviour patients

Some people with specific needs may feel stigmatized by assistive technology, it is important that they are consulted as to whether they are happy to use it

Particular attention should be paid to aspects of care planning including assessment, installation and obtaining consent so that the beneficial effects of the technology are realized

It is important to obtain the person’s free and informed consent before installing or using AT. In the case of movement monitoring, for example, a person may be willing to sacrifice a certain degree of privacy in return for the benefits that s/he believes the device will bring but consent must not be based on pressure  or presented as the only option

Practitioners-Client relationship – This again is one of the ethical dilemmas which arise due to the relationship between the carer and the service recipient. It is completely based on the emotional bonding and the extent of the involvement of the service providers with the patients

Patients with specific needs are assisted as already mentioned by various Socio-Cultural phenomenon and which provides the basis for legislation to step in and guarantee them a complete System having all the SOPs for their comfort

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Task 3

3.1 Identify Maggie’s specific needs for support to live independently.

Patients with genetically sworn diseases or disabilities like epilepsy or dementia have been accepted as persons with specific needs, their learning and other handicaps are being realized and accepted. To address the issues, the legislation and statutory framework of governments in various economies have setup provisions for facilities like health and social care service workers, service homes, education and learning facilities for patients with specific needs etc.

Service Users with specific needs smooth operations and working post their incident need special care and a standard operating procedure (SOP). Maggie’s specific needs for support to live independently are as follows –

Needs arising due to the complications of the disease, i.e. Dementia, such as –

Dis-inhibition and impulsivity

Depression and anxiety

Agitation

Balance problems

Tremor

Speech and language difficulty

Trouble eating or swallowing

Delusions or hallucinations

Memory Distortions

Wandering or Restlessness

Due to the onset of above symptoms related with Dementia, Maggie faces or might face following problems and hence has specific needs, which should be supported by the health and social care services –

Memory relapse and distortions leading to mislaying of keys

Forgetting to turn off the taps, switches or knobs etc.

Eyesight, hearing or speaking impairment

Difficulty in lifting, cooking, driving and typing on keyboard etc.

Cognition process is hindered and hence recognizing people, socializing and analysing gets slowed down

Forgetting roads, maps, directions, addresses and as well as locating their own houses

Hindered daily activities like cooking, washing, cleaning and relaxing/enjoying

Specific Care needs for Maggie’s independence –

To change the working culture of her employee company from ‘doing with’ to ‘doing to’ to enhance the life

Learning and understanding needs to be fulfilled by specially designed training courses and modules

Proper care planning process and framework being designed and implemented

Speech and behavioural therapies

Public and social manner and etiquette trainings

Capability and efficiency enhancement modules

Friends and acquaintance building communication exercises (DiMattteo & Martin, 2002)

3.2 Recommend appropriate assistive devices in order to support Maggie to continue living independently.

Some of the appropriate assistive technologies and devices in order to support Maggie to continue living independently are as follows –

Memory Aids such as,

Reminders messages – An electronic reminder device with basic Voice function (which can have a recorded voice and messages from any of the relatives of the patients, whose voice they recognize), delivering basic promptness alerts, such closing and opening of switches, knobs, doors, appointments, timely medication etc.

Clocks and Calendars – Electronic and Digital clocks and calendars to make Maggie aware of date and time and mitigate her disorients

Medication Aids – Special boxes for keeping drugs to assistive tools such sponges etc. for easy and remindful drug delivery to Maggie

Locator Devices – Sensors and digital devices helping in reminding and locating things, which are kept after use

Tele-care – For all kinds of medical assistance and service cares delivered remotely to Maggie, it will give her alerts about any crisis or emergency situation in her environment and the best possible ways to mitigate it to save her life, such as floods, heat, gas, fire, falls or her leaving the home etc.

Movement Assistive Technology (MAT) – Sensors and digital devices, which can be worn by Maggie and assist her in her movements, if any further complication arises such situations

Daily Activity Overseer – Digitally assisted meters and devices which record daily activities of Maggie and report any change in the normal patterns, it helps in mitigating risks of her leaving the home, avoiding emergency situations, unnatural and challenging behavioural symptoms etc. (Marinker, 1998)

3.3 Evaluate the usefulness of technology for users of health and social care services.

There has been a series of developments and emerging technologies which have come to rescue and help for the support of servicing the specific needs of patients like Maggie. Some of the benefits of the emerging developments are stated as –

the quality of life of patients has been improved through more effective and efficient treatments

patients are now enabled to remain in their homes rather than be admitted to a hospital or care homes and providing services at their convenience

remote testing and diagnosis with treatment is possible now

treatment times are reduced

Clinicians are now being enabled to treat more patients more effectively (Wanless, 2002).

Advances in technology and medicine over the last few decades can benefit people with disabilities. In the quest of enabling people with disabilities to have access to advances in medicine and technology, a change in social attitudes towards equitable medical treatment of people with disabilities and hence overcoming access barriers is very important.  In addition to all this, changes in medical practice and attitudes are essential for developments in medicine and technology, so as to have maximum impact on people with disabilities. It is noted, that these social and cultural shifts that drive both the development and accessibility of advanced medical care are necessary (Woolf, 2007).

Disabled people are generally not aware of medical and technological advances that could help them to live more meaningful lives.  In addition to this, they may also not be able to afford to purchase or avail equipment or avail surgery or pharmaceutical advances. For example, assistive technology, which are used to assist patients with disability for smoother movement, learning & trainings, speech therapy and better communication with external world etc., are particularly the high tech ones and are expensive This was mainly attributed to funding, competition and the conservative nature of education (Walker, 2003).

Conclusion

Persons with disabilities or patients with difficulties and illnesses require special care and have specific needs to be taken care of. With limitations to keep them at home, family members and relatives take specialized helps from health and social care services. Medical technology advancements have come to help. With latest emerging technologies to assist medical fraternity, any crisis or unfavourable incidents in future can be obverted.

References

DiMattteo & Martin, Health Psychology, 2002

Fleisher, L. A., Mantha, S., & Roizen, M. F. 1998. Medical technology assessment: an overview. Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 87(6), 1271-82.

Lundberg, I. E., & Alexanderson, H. 2007. Technology insight: tools for research, diagnosis and clinical assessment of treatment in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology, 3(5), 282-90.

Marinker M. Peckham M. 1998. Clinical Futures. BMJ Books.

Mechanic, D. 2002. Socio-cultural implications of changing organizational technologies in the provision of care. Social Science & Medicine, 54(3), 459-67.

Munn-Giddings, C., & Winter, R. 2013. A handbook for action research in health and social care. Routledge.

Pennebaker, et al. 1981. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1981 Aug Vol 41(2) 213-223

Walker, K. 2003. Why evidence-based practice now? a polemic. Nursing Inquiry, 10(3), 145-55.

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