Celebrating the National Health Service: Longevity of Disabled People

Historically the National Health Service is the crown jewellery of the welfare state in the UK. Its successes have become the envy of the world since its inception in 1948. The institution has improved and maintained the lives and health of the nation and its citizens. This is irrespective of sex, gender, ethnicity, age and disabilities. Health care has been free at the point of delivered. Yet, the service is paid for with National Insurance Contributions by the working population in the UK.

Despite its achievements and accomplishments, disabled people (learning and physical disabilities) were not seen as people with equal rights compared to non-disabled people. They were stigmatised and called different names such as the “mongos, cripples, loonies and handicapped”. Besides their castrations, they were locked up in “long stay hospitals” and had very little access to the community. Their life-expectancy was short, in many instances this determined by medical practitioners in the hospitals/homes who pegged it at 40-years-old, while many did not even have the privilege to live up to that age. Their needs were poorly managed and they had no choice of the services/care other than accepting what was available. Most were ill-treated and their outcry rose the issues of “Moral Integrity, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities” for all.

The plights of disabled people touched the hearts and minds of some members of the parliament and clergymen/women in the UK. The proponents for change exploited this opportunity and called for the abolition of the policies and legislation that supported segregation. This was widely supported by many pressure groups who lobbied their constituency members of parliament in the House of Commons. The protagonists sought for change and reforms of the National Health Service and the wider welfare services. This received “A Royal” shield and the birth of the “NHS and Community Care Act (1990). Since then reforms have not stopped but has gained momentum.

Thus, 1990 would be remembered by many people as a year of liberation for disabled people. It also marked the beginning of a road map for reforms in the wider welfare systems and normalisation of disabled people in the wider community. Normalising the lives of disabled people and their assimilation in the community has revived the general public’s attitudes and behaviours towards disabled people of different classifications. The reforms have made significant changes and improvements in the lives of this client groups as widely observed in practice and in the communities they live.

Reflecting on the attainments and realisations of the reforms, many disabled people now lives over 65-years-old and relatively in good health. Credits are due to the multitude of support systems such as advances in medical sciences, assistive technology, personalisation of services (Direct Payments, Cash for Care) and independent living. These have provided immerse opportunities and lifestyle for the client groups and their caregivers. For example, they are now able to access the community with their personal assistants and socialise with non-disabled people.

Similarly, health and social care professionals are now well educated in practice to understand and respond to challenging behaviours in children and adults with multiple pathology of disability. Every day, we see people with disabilities such as autism and attention deficit and they are expected to cope with their functional activities of daily living in a world, which can often seem bewildering and irrational. Most of the client groups (mild or severe disabilities) may need one form of support or the other therefore, it is imperative that their support systems are not interrupted in order not to confuse their retinue.

This can cause high levels of anxiety and stress, resulting in behaviours that can be difficult for other people to deal with. This could also offer significant trials to professionals who are involved in the provision of education, health and welfare services. Examining the unique tasks facing children and adults with disabilities, their conditions may exacerbate as they are ageing. This would tentatively present some dilemmas to professionals who are supporting them to attend their holistic needs. Thus, support plan or individual programme plans (IPP) for disabled people require continuous monitoring and appraisal of their needs as well as adequate financial and human resources.

The current reforms within health and social care sectors are threaten some of the achievements already made to safeguard the wellbeing of many service users. The danger is that as people with learning disabilities for instance are getting older, they may face the same physical and mental problems of all ageing people. Most would need increasing support to ensure they grow old in a society where their safety and dignity could be maintained. On the other hand, parents who are the main caregivers for their children with learning disabilities or those with physical infirmities may find it more difficult to cope as they get older. More than often, siblings and other relatives who take on this role struggle to find information they need because they have not been part of care giving.

Consequently, older persons with disabilities who do not have relatives risk a future of increasing isolation hence social work has changed to care management approach. They have little opportunities to rapport with service users as it used to be in the past. They are now responsible for care commission while service users have to source and appoint their own personal assistants and this could be a difficulty for many. Thus, the unanswered questions within the current welfare systems are who will protect the interests of the vulnerable if their parents are no longer able to? Would the local authorities’ social services departments perform dual roles of commissioning and care delivery therefore, what’s going to be the legal and financial implications for authorities?

In anticipation, adults with profound, moderate or severe behaviours who are living independently with their personal assistants may find it difficult in the long-run when they are aged. There are still many potential issues around; choice and control, managing their personal budgets and finances as well as maintaining health and safety around them. It is been observed in practice that supported or assisted housing is not always appropriate for older adults with disabilities, who might need assistance with physical activities for example, mounting stairs or getting in/out of the bath as well as preparing meals and other domestic chores. Conversely, generic homes for the elderly may not have resources or be suitable for the specific needs of people with challenging behaviours.

Longevity of disabled people needs to be celebrated owing to the NHS and community care reforms and continuous re-organisations of the industry.

Need For Mental Health Services

According to a UCLA study, 4.9 million people in California believe that they require help for a psychological or mental health problem. Researchers from the UCLA have also found that about one million people in California are suffering from symptoms related to serious psychological distress and complicated mental health disorders.

Mental health services are mostly dependent on government organizations and other mental health professionals, such as nurses, psychiatrists, counselors, and psychologists. Usually these services include support groups for mental wellbeing, early psychosis teams, self-help groups, halfway houses, assertive community treatment, and local medical services. Mental health services are also available through world health organization advocates, charitable organizations, or psychiatric hospitals.

These services also include psychiatric wards, local primary care medical services, clubhouses or day centers, and supported housing with partial or full supervision facilities available for people who are suffering from mental illness.

Mental health services are needed to treat the following problems:

  1. Mood disorders: People who are suffering from this type of problem feel mood swings, including extreme anger, happiness, or sadness. The mood of the person changes quickly and can be the result of just anything. The most common mood disorders include bipolar disorders and depression.
  2. Anxiety disorders: A person’s response to certain situations results in nervousness or fear. This includes post-traumatic stress disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and phobias like claustrophobia.
  3. Personality disorders: An individual experiences strange personality traits. Paranoid personality disorders and antisocial personality disorders are two common examples.
  4. Impulse control disorders: A person who is affected may indulge in acts that may harm themself or others. Stealing, compulsive gambling and spur to start fires are some examples of impulse control disorders.
  5. Substance abuse disorders: The persons are addicted to take substances like inhalants, alcohol and drugs. This addiction results in a neglect of daily works and responsibilities.
  6. Psychotic disorders: Such patients normally experience hallucinations, such as hearing things or seeing things that are not real in nature. Besides this, a person may experience things opposite to reality and delusions, such as Schizophrenia
  7. Eating disorders: This type of illness normally affects adolescents and persons who are related to beauty industry. Persons suffering from eating disorders are over-conscious about their self image and weight. It involves bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and anorexia nervosa.

The treatment of these problems is often limited to the physical and mental expressions of the individual; however, a lot of Christian counselors, ministers, and professional experts treat such disorders through awakening the affected person about religion. A lot of people who are suffering with these distressing problems have turned themselves toward the worship of the God, with the help of mental health services, ministries, or Christian counseling, which motivate people to control their addictions, behaviors, and undesirable mind-set.

Community Health Assessment Tools In A Developing Society

Community health nursing synthesis the body of knowledge from the public health sciences and professional nursing theories for the purpose of improving the health of the entire community. Community health nursing practice therefore promotes and preserves the health of the population. The community is not an easily or consistently defined entity. It is a nebulous, complex concept. Thus a community in its broadest sense will be defined as a group of people living in an environment that has the ability to meet their life goals and needs.

The entry into the community is usually made possible by the chief medical officer through the issuance of letters to community leaders for easy acceptability and accessibility. Critical to the dynamics of a community are its patterns of communication, leadership and decision making and this occurs as a result of interaction between community members and the larger society. The different components of this community include people, environment and health care delivery system and together they determine the physical, social, mental states of wellness of the people.

For the people component there is:

a. Demographics such as population distribution, mobility, density and census data;
b. Biological aspects will include health and disease status, province/state of origin, nationality, age, sex, mortality.
c. Acquired aspects are twofold, social which takes into account occupation, activities, marital status, education, religion and cultural which include position, roles value, customs, norms, taboos.

For the environmental component there is:

a. Physical aspect which include natural resources, landscape, climate, terrain, relief, boundaries and limits;
b. Biological and chemical aspects such as animal reservoirs, toxic substances, food supply, standard of food control, water source, staple food, vector control, living arrangement, sewage disposal, water supply and refuse disposal;
c. Social aspects involve industry and economics, communication, transportation, recreation/recreational facilities and religion.

For the health care delivery system component, there is:

a. The organizational aspect involving government and private sectors, systems, linkages and
b. Resources which involve health personnel, health centers, clinics and hospitals, funds, services.

Through the complete understanding of these different components, then can health promotion, disease prevention and rehabilitative measures be implemented. Promoting health of the people and their welfare can be done through health education to both individuals and families. During these education sessions, various aspects of diseases, their prevention can be given as well as ways of rehabilitation when calamity strikes.

Community health problems will then be arrived at through two ways:

a. As perceived by the community and then
b. As perceived by the community health nurse.

A community diagnosis will then be reached, which can range from one to several. Recommendations can then be made to the appropriate people concerned.

In conclusion, the community health nurse, in doing this assessment, must strive to work as a team with the community involved and he/she must be able to achieve if not all, some of the eight components of primary health care, such as immunization against infectious diseases, an adequate supply of safe water, education concerning prevailing health problems and the methods of preventing and controlling them.

How to Build Credible Community Health Services

So often with large community health projects, the concerns of the funders take priority over the people the program is designed to help. By taking particular care to enhance community, you will be far more likely to enhance community ownership and success in health services than if you imposed an agenda from outside.

The federal government does not have the same perspective as a community member. Community health is local, and communities must integrate long-term strategies to manage their own health. Relying on federal grants opens a community to the political necessity of re-allocating funding to other communities. Health care should not rely on changing political winds.

The following three approaches will enhance peoples’ experience of communities, and they are best to initiate during the initial design of a federal project.

Build Cooperation

  • Build political support by distributing project summaries and informing local representatives in the local area about the project.
  • Community members will often be asked to sign documents so that the project receives credit for recruitment. In order to validate the needs of the community though, all stakeholders should be part of an organization chart with explicit roles and responsibilities.

Establish Communication Network

  • The highest priority of the Project Director is to communicate with others. Community members should feel that they are part of the communication chain and not left out from understanding the status of the project.
  • Before a community organization signs a stakeholder agreement, the Project Director should develop a stakeholder communication plan. The plan will delineate the reporting structure, methods of communication, contact information, and report schedule.
  • The Project Director should organize regular phone calls and meetings to learn about specific concerns and solutions from the community. The feedback from the community should then be incorporated into the regular project reporting.

Monitor Feasibility

  • Often the schedule of tasks has been developed a priori without consulting community members. Since incomplete tasks represent a negative outcome for the project, pressure increases for the Project Director to resolve the problem. Project Directors should focus on the reasonableness of the schedule by consulting with community providers in the development of the schedule. They have the most realistic perspective of patients served in a given period.
  • It is best for community member to receive a copy of the Statement of Work and also contribute to the Standard Operating Procedures.
  • As part of the project design, Project Director’s should develop a pilot phase for testing project processes and time frames. This preliminary phase will allow for early adjustments in time and resources.

Recuperate at Home with Home Health Service

For people who need extended care after surgery, a fall, or who are experiencing health problems, home health service offer a new avenue of rehabilitation beyond the hospital or nursing home that allows patients and clients to stay in their own home, recover, and get well. Years ago, there were relatively few choices for a patient who needed after surgery or recovery care and who might not have someone at home to provide it. That has now changed, and the options available to patients continue to expand and grow.

In recent years, there has been a boom in the Home Health Industry due to an aging population. Research suggest that people recover more quickly from injury and illness in their own homes, around familiar surroundings, and where friends and family can visit more often. Because of a higher demand to be at home, and because home care service is typically cheaper than a hospital or nursing home, home health services have expanded their offerings to include a variety of services that allow patients to stay at home and retain their independence.

A home health service offers the traditional nursing functions that are found in a hospital or nursing home environment: basic medical functions such as giving medications, helping with bandage and dressing changes, checking vital signs; moving patients, giving baths, physical therapy, etc. Many now offer services beyond that: extended socializing with the patient (reading books and magazines, playing cards, talking), running errands, preparing meals, helping with exercise, shopping – the list goes on. Performing these extended functions really helps those patients who don’t have families, or whose families can’t be with their loved one around the clock.

Because home health service is typically cheaper than staying in the hospital or nursing home, insurance companies and Medicare will cover many of the costs of home care. It is important to check your policy carefully, and understand what services are covered for your type of illness, and for how long. A reputable home health service will work very closely with patients and families to determine exactly what is or isn’t covered, and to determine the best course of care for a particular patient.

If you are looking for home health service, make sure to shop around and carefully evaluate the different companies to find a good, reputable company. Make sure that the medical employees such as doctors, nurses, and therapists are registered and have experience in providing services needed. Ask for the average length of employment for employees. A good service should offer local and reliable references who can comment on the company and the services provided. Make sure to call references, and also ask around the community for references. Ensure that the provider has the services you are looking for, and that they are flexible enough to meet your needs. It is important to interview several health care providers, and to make your decision based on quality and cost, so that you get the absolute best care for the money you spend.

Home health service today offers so much to patients who are recuperating from surgery or illness. These services offered allow patients to recover comfortably in their own home, without stressing families who can’t provide many of those services, and they provide peace of mind and independence for recovering individuals. Investigating home health service options is something all patients should do if they are ill, or are experiencing health problems. Many patients and their families are pleasantly surprised by the different services many of these care services offer.