Delivery in day(s): 5
At present times, it is really very important to empower health and social care service users that allows users to be an active part of the decision making process about their treatment and other health facilities. Service users’ choices and desires need to be considered along with their right to have safe and secure health facilities. This empowering health care users assignment is aimed at understanding the ways of empowering these users and applying it in health care centers. The way the service provision should be designed to protect rights of users would be discussed along with the ways to promote their maximum participation as well as independence. In addition, the importance of providing high quality services to patients and families along with identifying and minimizing risks in provision of health services would be highlighted.
Government is very well aware of the fact that an essential part of health and social service sector is to ensure protection of basic rights of people. It helps in minimizing harm to service users and their overall wellness is promoted. Thus, government and other responsible agencies keep on taking required steps in this direction by designing policies and recommending expected practices to local health and social care centers. The human rights act (HRA) is one such step of UK parliament that incorporates rights mentioned in European Convention on Human Rights and is intended to respect and protect these rights. It makes it necessary for public bodies like health centers, schools, etc to make sure that their practices are not acting against fundamental rights and freedom of people (Furniss, 2002). For instance, health service users have fundamental right to be informed and taken permission before carrying out a recommended treatment modality and thus, the policies and procedures of the organizations are such that patients are given complete information and knowledge of the procedures, its risks and benefits and then consent is taken from them for carrying out the procedure.
Another example is ‘Valuing people’ which is a strategy to protect rights of people with learning disabilities. These people are very vulnerable to get abused either physically, mentally, sexually or socially. Thus, to ensure that their rights and choices are respected and protected, various steps are taken like availing them with trained and qualified caretakers. Through this new strategy, steps are taken to introduce a framework and funded program for providing special training to staff that would cater the needs and requirements of disabled people in a better way. This would definitely protect rights of people to receive quality care services.
Elderly people are one of the vulnerable groups of society as little can they do to protect themselves against abuse of any kind and are more dependent over others for meeting basic life needs. It makes it more essential to protect and respect their fundamental rights and avail them with high quality of care services. There are various factors that affect health care organization in providing good services and promoting protection of rights of elderly people as:
Effective communication between health service provider and service users is directly or indirectly related to the quality of services delivered at health and social care centers. It is extremely important for the care workers to keep their verbal and non verbal communication like body language, gestures, eye contact, etc with their service users in such a way that users feel valued, respected and wanted. There are several advantages of good communication as it allows service provider to understand the needs and requirements of their patients in a better way, evaluate the quality of current services through feedbacks and eventually improve the standard of services based on these comments and information. It really assists in protecting, promoting and maximizing the rights of service users (Le Breton, 2004).
People have fundamental right to have complete information about their health conditions, its prognosis, treatment options available, involved risk and ultimate complications. By proper communication, service users can impart complete information to users, keep them informed and empower them by considering their choice.
It can also protect users from getting physically or mentally abused and protect their right to have safe environment by making them so comfortable that they can openly discuss such issues with responsible staff members. Moreover, users’ views, opinions and choices would be properly listened and they can be provided with what they need, ultimately improving the service quality and improve final outcomes.
Several conditions and situations may cause a person to lose his independence, unable to participate in social and other activities and make him socially excluded that exert negative impact over his physical and mental health. it is really essential to understand the importance of independence and independence of people and promote it so as to promote their overall health (Department of Health, 2000). A situation in which a single daughter decides to leave her job to cater the needs of her elderly patients brings a lot of responsibilities as well as need of sacrifices by her. First and foremost she sacrificed her job and then she would have to be with her parents all the time to take proper care of their health. As she is single and in her 50s, she has always led an independent life where she could go anywhere anytime but now after taking this major responsibility, she would have to compromise with her independence and social life. She would no longer be able to go to casual or formal meetings easily as she needs to be available with elderly patients requiring her assistance 24x7. Another situation where a newcomer fails to get job due to his inability to speak English makes him very much stressed and depressed. He would feel reluctant in talking to or meeting with people as he starts feeling inferior and is unable to communicate properly. This makes him dependent over others for general day to day chores and also leads to his non participation and social exclusion.
Another situation is children who are bullied at school face various social and mental issues. These students do not talk to their parents or teachers openly as they are scared to get more bullied and start staying alone and depressed. They usually try to avoid going to social gatherings or meet people due to fear in their mind making them socially inactive. In fact, they don’t even talk much with their family members or play with friends, rather chose to stay in house alone.
Elderly people and young people with learning disabilities are two vulnerable group of society who are more dependent on others and face non participation. It is really important to promote independence and participation of these people to make them feel valued, respected and wanted. It also provides them mental satisfaction and exerts positive effects on their health. If a care plan for elderly individuals is designed in a way that includes active involvement in social and other activities, keep them physically and mentally occupied then it is expected that a better recovery of patients would take place. Since, such practices would promote independence and participation of elderly people; they can retain their cognitive functions in a better way, stay healthier and lead a long independent non stressed life. Doing regular physical activities would reduce disease severity and increase strength of bones and muscles and social participation would help in better memory retention and improving quality of life (Marks, 1999).
In similar ways, if young people with learning disabilities are managed in ways that promote their independence and participation then it would have major positive impact over their mental health. They would feel more confident and equal to others in society. Socializing helps them in developing self identity, get job opportunities and directions in life that would, in turn, lead stress free life.
Health service providers face various difficulties while providing services to their users and one such issue is protecting the rights of their users while keeping them safe. There are various situations when vulnerable groups of society like elderly people, disabled people, etc wish to lead an independent life, make decisions and live as per their choices, but it is the duty of care takers to limit them from doing so to avoid any harm. Such situations bring tensions and frustrations to the vulnerable person as well as his care taker. In the situation, when an increasingly frail individual who must be shifted to care home for his health and safety reasons, is not ready and wishes to live in his childhood home, the care takers face ethical dilemma. They understand that it is not safe for him to stay at that home but also know the importance of protecting his fundamental right of independence and choice. Such situations lead to tensions like the elderly person may refuse to take any further help and may become even more stubborn. He may start feeling that these care takers want to make him dependent and start considering them as his enemies. Thus, calmly, with the help of his family members and friends, he needs to be made understand his limitations and the associated risk with his decision (Bissell, et al. , 2008).
Another situation when a young person with moderate learning disability wants to get employed and lead an independent life, the care taker would like to know the nature of job he wishes to do. In case, he finds it not suitable or carries risks, then he may even try to convince the person to change his mind. But this may create tensions between them, as the young person may find his care taker to be very interfering and bossy and may ask him to leave. It is also a possibility that he becomes aggressive or depressed and start feeling inferior in case he is not allowed to do so. So, he must be provided special vocational training and his house must be equipped with latest technical equipments to help him lead an independent life.
Ms P is a young female with a learning disability living in a bed sit alone as per her wish. Although, her parents have ensured that she lives safely by hiring a paid care supporter and reviewing her in every four weeks to monitor her and the environment. However, there are several risks associated with ms P’s living independently. First and foremost, as mentioned in the case study, her friendship with the male adult neighbor can be really dangerous and harmful. There are chances that the male friend may not have good intentions, come close to her by fake talks and behavior and may eventually physically, mentally, sexually or emotionally abuse her. It is the most prior thing to meet this close friend and inspect him to judge his intentions or interest. She also needs to be warned and made understood the associated risks (Berry, 1994).
Another concern is that the paid care supporter has become intermittent and thus, there are chances that her risk of harm may increase. Her daily review and progress would not be assessed that may have negative impact over her overall health. In addition, she has become withdrawn that carries risk of her becoming socially excluded or isolated that would, in turn, hamper her physical and mental growth. Her second review that was supposed to be done after four weeks of first one was also not done which further increases the concern that she needs a close review as soon as possible to protect her from exploitation, harm and ensure her safety.
The supported housing complex for physically disabled individuals like Mr L is very efficiently taking care of these people. The policies, procedures as well as the approach of care takers seems very well managed and designed in a way to provide maximum benefits to the users. The housing complex along with a central club house has been designed keeping the needs and requirements of these people in mind including their social and emotional needs.The most primary need of these physically disabled people is requiring assistance in their day to day activities like bathing, preparing meals, etc. these needs are properly taken into considerations by the care workers who daily extend their required support to Mr L and his colleagues. Another essential component is ensuring that the fundamental rights of these vulnerable people are well protected and they have enough independence to make choices and decisions. By allotting them single small independent units, it is evident that their independence and self identity are well promoted that provide them confidence and mental satisfaction. In addition, the presence of on site management team ensures that they are well protected from all the risks and harms showing a perfect balance of safety and independence (Michell and Sloper, 2000).
The policies and procedures at the complex are so well designed that the service users are also having a provision to play outdoor games twice a week that keeps them physically, mentally and emotionally engaged. It is also very important for their overall progress and development. Thus, it can be said that the housing complex and its policies and procedures have considered several major and minor requirements of physically disabled people and are addressing these needs efficiently. However, as mentioned, it is also essential to have certain strict rules regarding their access to alcohol or similar substances. Alcohol can prove really dangerous to these people and thus needs immediate action. It also shows carelessness that prevails at the supported housing complex. In addition, the complaint of Mr L of getting bored highlights the need of making changes in the very similar and fixed routine of these people. Although, they have club house to play, meet their friends regularly and go out to play weekly but more interesting and new things need to be added to their schedule.
Medicines are boon for sure but they can prove very dangerous and harmful if not handled in a safe manner. It is extremely important to ensure that medicines are safely handled, ordered, stored, transported, administered or disposed in all health care centers. It becomes even more responsible thing to be done in care home for autistic individuals since people with this developmental disability are at more risk of harm owing to their mental health issues (Care Quality Commission, 2010a). Usually, autistic individuals face difficulties in social interaction and verbal and non verbal communication but the degree may vary and they may also have learning disabilities and mental health problems. Thus, handling all the medicines in safe and secure way that minimizes the risk of harm and abuse is extremely important with autistic people (MHRA, 2005).
There are various policies and codes of practice that are followed at the care home and all the individuals at the service need to ensure that these policies and legislations are strictly followed. Through these policies, it is ensured that best outcomes are achieved for the service users regarding medications. First and most primary requirement is that all staff designated to administer medicines are trained and are keeping appropriate records. All the medicines must be administered in compliance with NAS policy , the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) policies and NMC standards. Another essential part is receiving, storing and stocking medicines in a controlled manner. For this, pharmaceutical guidelines and legislations are followed; drug cupboards are designed in compliance with these recommended guidelines, medicines requiring low temperature are kept in designated medicine fridges, controlled drugs are stored as per Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 and safe Custody regulations, Health and Social Care Act, 2008 and Essential Standards of Quality and Safety. In order to limit the access of these stored drugs to untrained or non informed individuals, they must be securely stored. The keys must be with responsible staff members and should have restricted access. A complete record of all medication management and administration is required to be kept having signatures of authorized staff and should have information like staff training record, stock levels, disposals, etc. along with storage, disposal of medications should also be as per recommended guidelines that require disposing unwanted medicines in a safe and suitable system and a record of these disposals. Medications also come up with ethical and cultural considerations like some vegetarian patients may not take gelatin coated medicines or in some cultures, patient wants their medicine administrator be of same gender. Thus, these ethical and cultural needs must also be considered.
As mentioned above, several policies, code of practices, legislations and guidelines have been recommended for handling medications in safe manner. However, only recommendations are not important, these policies and guidelines must be effective as well in reducing the risk of harm and abuse carried by these medicines. Storing, transporting and disposing drugs in a safe and secure manner is no doubt an essential component but administrating drugs safely is the most important part as it directly affect the health and well being of service users. The rules given for safely administrating drugs to needy individuals including 5R rule are very effective. This rule of ‘getting it right- 5R’ comprises of all the essential information in simple terms. Medicines must be administered with right resident, right medication, right dose, right route and right time. These five rules if followed, the administration procedure would be safe and effective. First and foremost, right resident must administer medicines, that is, the person must be well trained and must have complete knowledge about the risks and benefits of the medicines. It must be ensured completely that the benefits of the prescribed drugs clearly exceed the risks and side effects. Another effective approach is using right medicine that involves selecting the best possible medicine considering patient’s condition, his choice, ethical consideration, drug interactions, allergies, etc. along with this, administering right dose is another essential component along with selecting best route like oral or parenteral and correct time of administrating drug (RPS, 2005).
These policies and recommended practices are very efficient since they reduce the risks associated with mishandling of medicines up to a great extent. There is no doubt in that if the medicines are administered in wrong way like more dose is prescribed, or given without taking patient’s history of allergy or other medications, or is administered in wrong way then it can do more harm than good. In fact, at times, it may even lead to serious life threatening situations like anaphylaxis, poisoning, serious drug interactions causing organ failure, etc. Thus, it can be said these policies that assists staff members of care homes to avoid medication administration errors are effective in protecting patients from getting negatively affected by medicines and help in enhancing the benefits of drugs.
Health and social service centers work in a direction to deliver high quality treatment and care facilities to the service users. However, at times, knowingly or unknowingly, the fundamental rights of these service users are compromised and they are abused in physical, mental or emotional ways. It is required to understand the importance of protecting basic fundamental rights of health service users like respecting their personal choice, right to be involved, to get quality treatment facilities and have a safe environment. Government and other responsible agencies have taken several steps in this direction by releasing guidelines and code of practices to be adopted by HSC to maximize the protection of rights of these people. However, still a lot need to be done in this direction to ensure that these policies and guidelines are properly followed and peoples’ needs and requirements are catered effectively.
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