Health and social care support to the significant life events of individuals, has a significant effect on one’s life. This discussion will focus on different types of life-events of the individuals and their impacts. This study will also discuss about the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual support to the individuals by the individuals, health care providers and the society. In this regard a case study about Mr. George and his mother Mrs. Garry has been provided. This study will also discussed about the effect of different types of responses from the individuals, society and the healthcare providers and finally some recommendations to improve the support system in health and social care organization will be discussed in this study (Brooke, Killan and Morrall 2015).
The life event consist the dramatic changes in the life course of the individual. Change in age and health, demographic changes, change in education and employment, change in other individual circumstances are known as the significant life events. Physical growth and psychological changes are the most important changes in the life events of an individual. The physical and psychological changes in human life take place with the change in the age of the human being (Busari, Soeteman and Peters 2015). Throughout the different stages of their life-span, human beings face different significant life-events. These significant life-events may be positive or negative. Some positive life-events are getting married, going to college, having a baby, promotion at work, getting job, getting a house, quit smoking and quite drinking alcohol etc. while physical and mental ill health in the family, death of loved one or of a family member, Retirement, failure at work or profession, domestic violence issues, sudden loss of employment , Accident and emergency attendances, Financial issues, breakup in marriage or in other significant relationship, menopause, drug or alcohol abuse etc.
Infancy (0-2 years):- The birth of the child and his infancy stage or growing-up stage is a positive life-event of human being. Across all the areas of development this is the period of immense growth. This stage includes the life-span of a human being from a very dependent newborn baby to a child. In this stage, there is the development of Gross motor skills. For example, in this case the children learn to crawl and sit-up. They can also control their head. This is the stage of development of not only the gross motor skill but also the development of fine motor skills. For example, at this stage an infant learns to pick up the objects or hold a dummy or rattle. At the infancy stage the human being or the child depends on his/her parents. There is a special bonding between the mother and child at this stage (D McGuigan and M Wilkinson 2015).
Early childhood (3-5 years):- At this stage children starts to go to school. It is a significant life event for the human –being. By the age of 3-5 years, the child performs many skills like talking, walking, using a spoon and scribble as a part of eating manual, using the toilet etc. The child began to develop his/her fine motor skills between the ages of three and five. Most children are able to use pencils, scissors and crayons by the age of five. The gross motor skills like skipping or hoping also develop at this stage. At this stage the child starts to recognize his/her own surrounding or environment and there occurs emotional attachment between the child and the other members of the family (Faltin, Kenett and Ruggeri 2012).
Late childhood (6-12 years):- At this stage children started to make friends which have a positive significance on their life. The cognitive skills and the individual personality of the human-being develop between the ages of six to twelve years. Until the start of puberty, the growth and development of the child is slower. At this stage, individuals become taller and gain weight. This height and weight vary from person to person and according to the genders. So, the adolescent stage of human life is known as the period of accelerated growth of human-being. At this stage the child starts to go to school makes friends. It is the stage of development of learning and creative ability of the child (Faltin, Kenett and Ruggeri 2012).
Adolescence (13-17 years):- This stage includes both positive and negative life events of human-being, as in this stage there may be break-up in friendship or the individual may addicted towards drugs and alcohols. At this stage the cognitive skill of individuals develops more. The adolescence stage includes the intellectual and emotional development of human being. One of the most significant developments at this stage is the sexual maturity, though the age of the individual varies person to person to reach at the sexual maturity level. Though at this stage the matured behaviour of the human-being is observed, there also arise some behavioural problems among the teenage individuals (Fitchett et al. 2015).
Early adulthood (18-30 years):- This is the most significant stage of human life, as in this stage the individuals faced many positive life events such as getting a job, getting married, having a baby, getting a house etc. Beside it also face some negative life events such as break-up marriage, overdose or self harm etc. This stage is considered as the peak period of human life as at this stage individual has the excellent health and coordination between the gross and fine motor skills. At this stage, the human being can easily interact with the members of the society and act as useful and efficient productive factors of the society (Jones 2015).
Middle adulthood or middle age (30-45 years):- At this stage the individuals face some positive life-events such as getting promotion, getting house etc. beside some negative life-events such as physical and mental ill health in the family, death of family members, sudden loss of employment etc. It is the second stage of adulthood and act as the beginner of the ageing process. At this stage many physiological and psychological changes take place in both males and females due to some hormonal changes. This step is the appearance of the lines and wrinkles. The people at this stage, are of matured enough to take any kind of responsibilities in the family as well as in the society.
Later adulthood or old age (45-70 years):- At this stage the individuals face most of the negative life events, such as menopause, retirement, referral to child and family psychiatry, financial issues etc. At the later adult-hood age, the strength of both the genders decline. There also arise some problems related to the flexibility and muscle tone, hair loss or thinning or hair turning gray. At this stage people start to loss their working ability which leads to a depression phase for the people.
Old age (70-dying age):- Illness and death are the most significant negative life-events at this stage.This is the last or final stage of human life-span. There is the first progress of ageing process at this stage. At this stage people lose their strength and weight. Physical problems affect the mobility and the movement of the individuals. Most of the people also suffer from the hearing and eyesight problems. Both the gross and fine motor skills of the individuals declined at that stage. At this stage the people suffers from the lack of confidence due to loss of memory. As a result, they mostly depend on the human-beings who are under the adolescence and the early adult hood stages. With the loss of physical and mental strength, the individuals slowly progress towards death (Kang et al. 2015).
The Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ grief model: - The Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ grief model explains the emotional changes throughout the life-span of the human-being. According to this model there are five stages of emotions experienced by the human-beings. The first stage is Denial. When the survival imagines a false and preferable reality, then Denial is the first reaction of the people. If the denial is not continued, then the individual become frustrated and anger. So, anger is the second stage of this model. The third stage is bargaining, which deal with the hope that the cause of grief can be avoided by the individual through the bargaining process. But, later individuals become depressed with the certainty of death and may refuse the visitors, become silent and mournfully spend the time. Depression is considered as the fourth stage of this model. Finally, people give up the hopes and accept the unfavourable situation which comes with calm, stable condition of emotions and the retrospective view of the individual. This is the last stage of the model which is known as acceptance (Chen et al. 2015).
Relation of the five stages of emotions with the given case study:-From the given case study, it can be shown that after hearing about the serious illness of his mother, George first denied to accept the fact as he was emotionally very close to his mother. With the passing of time, he realized that his mother cannot recover from Cancer if he denies the fact. Then he became anger and frustrated about himself that he could not make time for his ill mother in past six months. Then he started to bargain with situation with the hope that his mother may recover if proper health treatment is provided to her. With this hope he took leave from his job to be with his ill mother. But, as the day passes, he became depressed about the situation as he was very much frightened about his mother’s death. Not only that, he was very concern about the future of his own family and started thinking that what will happen to his family after his death. But, after the death of Mrs. Garry, fortunately, there was a support group to help Mr. George. From his mother’s death Mr. George has gained some experiences and has finally accepted the reality of death (Lazakidou and Daskalaki 2012).
There may be different types of significant life-events that can occur to one like being terminal ill, going to prison, bereavement and so on. The group response i.e. the response from the family, society, community, friends, and colleagues and so on may differ in different cases. The responses may be positive or negative depending on the situation. For example:-
In case of terminal illness of an individual there will be positive response from the side of the group as everyone will try to show sympathy to the individual and will always provide mental support to the individual.On the other hand if an individual go to prison, then the group, especially the society and the community will negatively response to this life event as going to prison means doing some wrong to the society. Bereavement is one of the significant life events of human-beings, when an individual lost their near one or loved one. In case of bereavement the group will provide the mental support to the individual through psychological, spiritual and social response (Mahmud and Catto 2012).
In case of Mrs. Garry, it was known to everyone that she could not be cured from the cancer, as it was almost the last stage. But as a son Mr. George was always beside her till her death to provide her the mental support. The nurses and the doctors always tried their best to cure her. As there was very little chance to heal her, beside medical treatment, it was essential to provide her the mental support through psychological and spiritual treatment. That is why there was a phone-call from the hospital to her son. The hospital authority believed that her son can provide a strong mental support to her. Her son George was always beside her during the last few days of her life to provide her the mental support. This kind of Psychological and spiritual treatment is a special type of healthcare treatment which is useful for the dying patient as it can help the patient to cope up with the situation (Ponsignon et al. 2015).
However, these efforts failed to help Mrs. Garry to overcome from the serious illness. Even during the last few days of her life she lost interest in eating and drinking. Even after the death of Mrs. Garry, when Mr. George became depressed and mentally weak, and no support was provided to him from the hospital to provide him psychological and mental support in this situation. Then he joined a support group of the families who were in the same situation and provided mental support to George through psychological and spiritual response. The community of the school where his mother had been a teacher also provided him the mental support in this sad situation.
The Nurses, Carers, Social workers, Support worker, Mangers of care home, meals on wheels, Pharmacist are all the healthcare providers. They provide physical, emotional, psychological and social response to the patients. The nurses are working for long time in the institution and become closely related to the patient and to their families.
The death of patients has an impact on nurses. As the nurses are mentally attached with the patients and their family, during the healing process, the death of the patients can affect them both inside their working environment and also outside of their working environment (Adams 2012).
Many carers find that they grieve for the loss of the person they once were. They feel conflicting emotions. They are emotionally attached with the patients before the death, but after the death of the patient they can easily accept the fact (Arbuckle 2012).
There are some physical, emotional, psychological and social effects on Social workers support workers, managers of care home, meals on wheels, and Pharmacists. All the health care providers and the social workers provide physical response in the healing process of the patients. So, they should be physically strong as continuous physical effort may affect their health. Beside physical response, the social and support workers providers provide emotional response to the patients and their families. With this emotional response, they become emotionally attached with the patient and his/her family which helps to build a emotional relationship between the healthcare providers and the students. As the healthcare providers and the social workers provide psychological or mental support to the patients, they should be mentally strong and become mentally attached with the patients’ problems (Baum et al. 2015). The social workers and support workers act as social group to provide social support to the patients and their families. As a result, they gain special respect in the society for their special treatment to the society.
Mr. George and his mother believed on the Christian spirituality i.e. they believed that with the help of Jesus Christ they can overcome this critical situation. That is why, when Mr. George heard about his mother’s illness, first of all he felt guilty for his carelessness to his mother. Then he tried to make-up the loss and stayed with his mother until her death to prove her that he loved her, as he was the only child of her. Even knowing that she had only a short-time to live, her son and the healthcare providers prayed for her healing. After the death of Mrs. Garry, her son Mr. George was provided bereavement support by the support group of the families who were in the same situation and also by the palliative care team. The pupils, parents and the school staff also provide strong mental support to George, while he had not get any kind of mental support from the hospital (Youm and Park 2015). The support from the school was not only psychological, but also spiritual and financial. They believed on the spirituality of afterlife. That is they believed that the soul of Mrs. Garry would happy, if they fulfill her wishes. That is why, they raised over £300 for her requested charity. This also provided Mr. George, the mental support by ensuring him that his mother’s all wises were respected.
There are different types of policies and procedures by different groups to support the individuals and their social networks. For example:-
NICE has published guidance on advanced breast cancer in February 2009 which is known as the supportive and palliative care (CSG). Developers and the providers of cancer services, who serve the adults suffering from cancer; are advised by this organization about the necessary steps that should be taken to support the needs of the patients and their families.
The Macmillan grant is a type of one-off payment system to cover the wide range of practical needs of adults, young people and children suffering from cancer. Heating bills, extra clothing or much needed break are included under this cancer care policy (Rbkc.gov.uk 1998).
In 2012, U.K. government has intended the National Bereavement Alliance. The main aim for these policies and procedures are to bring together a national forum for the numerous stakeholders on bereavement and it also provide a national voice on the bereavement issues.
The U.K. government has published the End of Life Care Strategy in 2008, to promote the high quality care for the adults at the end of the life. The main aim of this publication is to provide the approach to the people that the end of life is more choice where they would like to live or die.
The government of South Africa has established the Protection of Elderly Persons act in 2006 to set up a framework for the protection and empowerment of the elder persons. The main principle of this act is to protect and maintain the wellbeing, status, rights and safety of the older persons. It also helps to create the suitable environment for the elderly persons by promoting the participatory activities of the old age people in the society.
Clinical Commission Group (CCG):- The Clinical Commission Group is a organization which provides special services to the organizations like hospices, based on the policies and procedures of healthcare.
The main aim of the NHS ‘Bereavement policy and procedures’ is to help the employees when they suffer bereavement or suffer from other requirements in the extreme emergency situations for the personal and emotional reasons, such as death, serious illnesses, acute need of the family members etc.
These above mentioned organizational policies and procedures could be used in case of Mrs. Garry, as she was the cancer patient. These kinds of policies might help her in her old age in the absence of her son George by providing her mental support and medical treatments. Application of these types of policies might be helpful for the healing of Mrs. Garry (Rho et al. 2014).
There are other organizations in the society that provide external supports to the individuals, such as:-
Jewish Bereavement Counselling Services: - Over the last 25 years Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service has been in existence to offer its service to the whole Jewish community. The professionally trained and supervised volunteers work as service provider under this social network.
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS):- It is the national registered charity organization of U.K. which provides the support to bereaved parents and their families.
Compassionate Friends: - It is a charitable organization of bereaved siblings, parents and grandparents who provide the support and care to the other bereaved siblings, parents and grandparents who have suffered from the death of their child/children.
Cruse Bereavement Care: - The Cruse Bereavement Care is the largest bereavement charity organization of U.K. provides bereavement counselling and free care to the people who are suffering from the grief (Counselling-directory.org.uk 2015).
Miscarriage Association Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project: - It is the association of bereaved lesbians and gays who provide mental support to other lesbians and gays who have lost their partners (Ross 2009).
There are different types of support provided by these social networks to the significant life events of the individual, such as:-
Physical support: - The physical support is provided by the doctors and the other healthcare providers like nurse, staff etc. to the patient. They provide the health support to the patients by providing them proper medical treatment and care that they can perform their daily work (Wiederhold and Riva 2012).
Psychological support: - Psychological support is very much essential for dying patients and their families. This psychological support is provided to the patients in serious condition, not only by the healthcare providers, but also by their families, friends and society, to make the patients mentally strong (York and MacAlister 2015).
Spiritual support: - Spiritual support is treated as the most helpful healthcare support for the seriously ill patients and their families who have deep faith on their religious believe and culture. That is why, different healthcare providers try to support the patients by using different spiritual practices ('UK Lacks Pathways Through Social And Clinical Care For Eye Patients' 2012).
Financial support: - Financial support is the most essential and practical support for the human-beings in there significant life-events. Relatives, friends, society, different types of social community or organizations, several banking and the non-banking financial institutes provide financial support to the human-beings (Broussine and Scarborough 2012).
In human life there are different problems like anxiety, history of lack of tendency of coping, history of depressive illness, suicidal ideation, prolong silence, existential issues, spiritual needs etc. These types of problems have significant importance in the human-life and to overcome these problems referrals are needed for the human-beings. Before referral the assessments of the need of the individual should be conducted and this assessment is known as the holistic assessment of the individuals (Needham 2010). There are different types of external sources, which act as referrals to meet the needs of the human-being. The external sources may be of different types, such as cultural, religious, spiritual organizations, physical, occupational and psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors or psychiatrists etc.
There also exist some legal advisors such as advocates, solicitors, accountants, funeral directors and some other therapists who provide the services like Games, Aromatherapy, Yoga, massage etc (Patel and Taylor 2012). There also exist different types of organizations such as Blind Support Association, the Deaf Society, the Royal National Society, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Macmillan Cancer Care, Age UK, Curse Bereavement Care etc. who provide the external support to the individuals. These sources provided Physical, psychological, spiritual, legal, healthcare, sports supports to the human –beings in their significant life events (Brown and Baker 2012). The functions of different types of organizations providing the external support can be discussed as follows:-
Blind Support Association: - This association is situated in Nepal provides the psychological, physical, financial and social support to the bind or the partially sighted people.
Deaf Society: - This society has different branches in several metro cities of different countries. These branches are working with the hearing impaired people and try to develop their life-style by providing different types of services.
Royal National Society: - In U.K. the royal national society provide the external services to the people suffering from different physical and psychological problems. For example, Royal society for Deaf People, Royal Society for Blind people etc.
Royal National Institute of Blind People: - It is a charitable society of U.K. which provide advice, information and practical and emotional support to around two million people in the U.K. who are suffering from the sight loss.
Macmillan Cancer Care: - The Macmillan grant is a type of one-off payment system to cover the wide range of practical needs of adults, young people and children suffering from cancer. Heating bills, extra clothing or much needed break are included under this cancer care policy
Age UK: - Age UK is the registered charitable organization of U.K. , which was formed in 25th February, 2009 and launched on 1st April, 2009 as the combination of ‘age concern’ and ‘help the age’ charities. This organization helps to provide information and advice to the old people and also encourage the people to donate and to provide volunteer service to the old aged people.
Curse Bereavement Care: - The Cruse Bereavement Care is the largest bereavement charity organization of U.K. provides bereavement counselling and free care to the people who are suffering from the grief (Counselling-directory.org.uk 2015).
Palliative care Nurses: - The specially trained nurses provide the palliative care to the patients, as an extra layer of support. This kind of care is appropriate to cure the serious illness at any age of the patients.
In one word, all the above organizations provide the holistic support to the individuals. The holistic support includes the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural and social support to the clients (Costigliola 2012).
If the significant event occurs to a service users or employers, then different types of organizational supports are provided into the account of the organisational policies and procedures. Formal support is one of the most important supports provided by the organization to its employees who ensure the implementation of all employment related policies which have some specific objectives (Faltin, Kenett and Ruggeri 2012).It is based on the communication and confidentiality among the people under the social network. For example, formal support is provided by the organization to the employees, who suffer from frustration and depression. Different employees have different significant life events, some of may be positive and some of may be negative. The response of the organization should not be same to the every individual employee. So, according to their different types of live-events, the employees of the organization should be provided the one-to-one support by the head of the organizations. For example, the support to the father of a new born baby should not be same as the support to the father who has lost his son. With this kind of support system, the employers or the managers to solve the problems and provide the mental support to the employees one by one i.e. providing the special care to the each and every employee in their significant life events. In this case every individual should be informed and make sure that he/she will be provided the same level of support (Mladenov, Owens and Cribb 2015). The group support is also essential for the employees, who are new in the organization. The group of HR, managers, employers and the experienced staff or employers of the company act as a group to support the new employees with respect and empathy (Longman 2012).
Besides these common incidents of life, sometimes some critical incidents occur in individuals’ life. This kind of incidents creates the significant human distress and can overwhelm the usual coping mechanisms of the individuals. The critical response team include the HR, Manager and director who deal with the facts through processing with the individuals’ feelings (Goodman 2012). These kinds of supports should be provided to each and every employee of the economy in a routine manner. While providing the support to the employees, the other members of the organization should respect the rituals of the individuals, as sometimes beside physical and psychological support, spiritual support become more important to the employees. The support of the organization can successfully meet one’s need, if it adopt some services like protection of data, risk and need assessment, health and safety measures, protection of the vulnerable individual etc (Loignon and Boudreault-Fournier 2013). In terms of deficiencies in the certain areas of support, the employees will lose their interest on the organization, as any kind of mental support is not provided to them. Mental or psychological support is essential for establishing the suitable working environment in any kind of organization. Due to lack of support, the employees will become depresses and frustrated (Houle and Fleece 2011).
In case of Mrs. Garry at the first stage of her illness, she did not receive any kind of support from her son or from the society. At the last stage of her life, she was admitted to hospital and provided the healthcare facilities by the doctors and the nurses of that hospital. Her son Mr. George also tried to provide her the mental support by staying with her until her death. But these kinds of mental supports also failed to cure her. Day by day she gave up hope about her life, and finally she lost her interest in eating and drinking. Mr. George was very depressed about her mother’s death, but there was no mental support for him from the side of the hospital. But finally he joined the support group of the families who were in a same situation and gained a little experience from that group. He also received the help from the palliative care team which supported him to share his experiences regarding his mother’s illness and death in front of the pupils, parents and school staffs of the school, where his mother had been a teacher. This kind of group supports provides him the mental peace to overcome from the depression.
Once upon a time one of my friends faced a dangerous accident. He was seriously injured and lost his younger brother in that accident. Several attempts were made by the doctors and the nurses to save his life, but he lost his right-hand and was mentally depressed. Though doctors and nurses succeed to save his life, but it was very difficult for them to cure him from the mental shock. He had lost all his hope on life. He didn’t want to live anymore and stopped taking any kind of food and medicines.
As a friend I always tried to provide him physical and mental support. But these were not enough for him as he lost her younger brother in that accident. He always felt guilty that he couldn’t save him. So, spiritual support was necessary for him to overcome him from this mental shock. After realizing that fact, I talked with the doctors and the nurses and asked them to provide him the spiritual support beside the medical treatment. After losing his right hand, his self confidence was declined. To bring back his confidence, it was essential to provide him an artificial hand. For this I talked to his other friends and relatives and they ensured me that they would provide the financial support to bring back him into the normal life.
During those days, when he was hospitalized I was so much emotionally attached with him as I could feel the pain of him. I had lost my mother in my childhood and I know the pain of losing a near one. So, I continuously provided bereavement support to him.
I thought that my friend could survive from this sad situation if a continuous holistic support is provided to him by his friend, family, society and also by the health-care providers.
After a lot of support provided to my friend, after six months he recovered slowly from his mental trauma and it took almost one year to bring back him to the normal life. From this situation I have learned that when medical treatment cannot work, holistic support is essential for the patients.
To improve the support service in social and healthcare, different recommendation has been made regarding the issues like quality improvement, child-care support, improvement in leadership, bereavement support system etc.
The quality improvement is very much essential for the improvement in support system. The North West advancing quality programme provide the appropriate service-level data, including the patient feedback to monitor the problem with quality, NHS should concentrate on the quality improvement program. Besides, the leadership quality should be improved in the organization, as only a qualified and skilled labour can realize the needs of the individuals. According to NHS leadership quality should be patient-centric (Keim-Malpass, Letzkus and Kennedy 2015). Bereavement service should be more proactive and responsive to the culture, age, gender and the disability issues. The risk assessment tool, practical information and information tool should be included under this support service.
However, the child-care support cannot be ignored. The children in the society should be provided proper social and health care treatment by different supporting groups and the family.
For these improvements, the need of the staffs in an organization should be assessed properly and the training and information should be provided freely to the staffs that they can provide support to others (Hudson 2014).
Hence, from the above discussion, it can be said that health-care and social support are very much essentials for the significant life events of individuals. Since, human-being live under a society, the society cannot avoid their problems. Even the human-being cannot live without the social support. Throughout the different stages of his life-span an individual faces different physical, psychological, emotional and moral problems. Beside friends, families, society and healthcare organizations there is also a need for some external sources or organizations to provide the holistic support to the individual in their significant life events. Though there are some problems related to these organizations, but it is hoped that they can easily overcome these problems in future.
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