When working in health and social care, there are certain laws and policies which we have to follow. Some of them are the policies and procedures made by our organizations while some are rules and regulations set up by the government. Principle of practice means abiding by all of the rules; policies and procedures so as to fulfil the requirements which we need to follow in order to be an ideal professional in health and social care.
VALUES OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
In health and social care, values are the beliefs and ideas that guide us about the way we are supposed to care for others.
Examples from experience
We can understand and learn more about the values in health and social care working as a care worker in different roles and settings. It is not mandatory that an individual should only be cared for in a nursing home or a residential home. It can even be his/her home. Different types of care settings are as follows:
When someone notices the early symptoms of health disorder then they often visit the GPs. If the GPs find out that the case is rather more serious then the GP suggests that person to go to a specialist. However the individual can return to the GP for follow up care and monitoring of his disorder. Nursing treatments, physiotherapy, radiography and other specialist care may be undertaken at the GP’s surgery.
Sometimes when the patients reach the later stages of a disease or if they need intensive care then they might be subjected to hospitals.
There is often a negative belief among the elderly people that they might not return home if they are sent to a care home or a hospital. In these cases, they want care to be provided in their own homes. When the care worker provides care by travelling to the client’s home then it is called domiciliary care. Agencies that provide home care workers should be obliged under the 1973 Act and should make sure that the staffs have undergone proper training and should provide them with necessary equipments. A good agency will have a different department for recruitment and training of staffs and a different one for client enquiries. Domiciliary care can be a problematic process especially when a single care worker has to attend many clients.
In the further stages of a disease, a patient needs to be under care 24 hours a day. Such people need to be sent to a residential care home where they can be looked after by a team of staffs. People with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or arthritis need advanced care and hence they can be admitted to a nursing home. It is not necessary that every client in a residential care home is suffering from a disease. When families and relatives are unable to look after the elderly people in their home due to their busy schedules then also they may trust residential care homes to keep the elderly people. According to best care home awards, Morton Grange is Britain’s best residential care home in 2009.
The requirements for maintaining the values of health and social care are as follows:
Different people have different needs. It is essential that the same principle of fairness is used to meet their needs. Therefore, the definition of equality is not only equal treatment of all the individuals but it the similar treatment of individuals in similar conditions. Let us suppose that in a hospital, there are a number of patients with a particular type of brain tumour. In this situation, they should be offered the same option for treatment even if their choices may differ based on a range of factors. Equal opportunities should always be available for everyone.
The word diversity refers to the variations found in the characteristics and nature present among the individuals within a population. When we look at a population then we can notice that people are different from one another in their own ways. We can feel the differences in the language, religion, race, tradition, norms and values of people. For instance, According to National Statistics Online 2007, UK population consists of 71.7 % Christians, 3.1% Muslims, 1.1% Hindus, 0.6% Sikhs, 0.3% Jewish and 0.3% Buddhists. This statistics shows the diversity in religion of the UK population in 2007. As a care worker, it is important to realize the social context in order to understand our service users and accept diversity with all our hearts.
According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence (2006), dignity refers to the state, quality or manner worthy of esteem or respect; and (by extension) self-respect. In the field of health and social care, one should not forget that every person has his own individuality. Being a care worker, one should intend to promote the self esteem of the service users and we should have a sense of respect for everybody regardless of any sort of differences in order to express that we value their dignity. Let us put forward the example of old people who tend to find happiness in small things such as the weather and flowers and try to maintain their dignity and self respect by remembering their past achievements. Listening to them and giving them priority can really help to enhance their dignity.
The values of health and social care are likely to be disturbed in some cases. The steps to be considered in order to protect the values in health and social care are:
Taking account of limitations
We have got our own sets of rights but this sometimes while using our rights we might forget what our limits are. If we forget our limits then we may be successful in hurting other people’s feelings and also violate their rights. Suppose somebody is a popular author. He has the right to express his views, ideas and creativity through his works. However, this does not necessarily mean that he can write negative things about people of a particular group or culture. He cannot mix something like racism in his writings and hurt others. That is not his right. Hence, we should take account of our limitations.
Use relationships to promote rights
Gilchrist (1992) suggests a number of ways to ensure that discrimination does not exists in our society, they are:
Recognise prejudice and discriminatory practice that it can lead to;
Understand a need to find ways to empower others;
Combat discrimination and encourage others to combat discrimination;
Reflect on the organisation and the policies, procedures, practices and facilities which might support anti discriminatory practices.
Impact of discrimination on others
The unequal treatment and attitude that we show to others is known as an act of discrimination. People can discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, social class, ethnicity, race, etc. We have to abide by the anti-discriminatory acts such as sex discrimination act, Race Relations Act, etc. because discrimination can have only negative impact on the following aspects:
When someone is discriminated then he/she may start losing the honour which should possess regarding their identities. For example, when someone is discriminated on the basis of his religion then he may adapt some other religion just to be accepted by others.
Self-esteem and confidence
Discriminatory acts hinder one’s dignity and decrease one’s willingness to participate in social activities. For example, due to the sexual discrimination faced by gays, lesbians and transgendered people, they grow up feeling isolated and conscious about difference between them and others. According to www.citizenship.ahsonline.co.uk, over 70% of transsexuals have contemplated suicide in their lives.
Colleen Rothwell-Murray. Commissioning domiciliary care: a practical guide to purchasing services. 2000. Oxon: Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd.
Sue Cuthbert, Jan Quallington, Values for care practice. 2008. Devon: Reflect Press Ltd.