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SOCW0069 Contemporary Issues In Health And Social Care

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 “Care home let my dad starve to death” Case Study

Over the past few years, The Guardian, Times newspapers and also reports from the ‘Tabloid Press’, have highlighted a series of serious issues in health and social care following exposure of events by families and researchers on programmes such as the BBC’s ‘Panorama’.

These reports, from a range of media sources, have created moral panic in the minds of service users, their families and the general public. This is clearly seen in relation to issues of safeguarding and neglect of the elderly. One such case was that of ‘’Mr Bentley’’. Clara’s battle over her father’s care started when ‘’Mr Bentley’’, her father, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while she was living abroad.  Her three brothers lived near their father and visited regularly, but he needed a level of support they could not provide.

The local Social Services Department, who were already delivering meals on wheels at lunch time to the house where he lived alone, informed him that they had reviewed his needs and they would increase the help they were giving him, which was good news to the family.

It was only when she travelled to the UK that Clara realised that social services were not providing the basic level of care an elderly person should have the right to expect. He was given frozen meals but didn’t know how to work a microwave nor did he have a freezer to store the food. He would stay in his pyjamas all day, hadn’t had a bath for several days, and when she visited she found that he was slightly confused, saying that she had left the living room messy with clothes. This was worrying, as he had always been very neat and tidy, but now, there was a danger of falling over things in the house.  He had also lost a lot of weight.

Meanwhile, Mr Bentley fell ill and was hospitalised for several months. He could not return home, as his condition had progressed, so was discharged into his first care home nearby. Subsequently, he was transferred to many different homes during the years to follow. While in care he was labelled as aggressive and uncooperative, which led to him being mistreated on many occasions. He attempted to escape from one care home, but was found and successfully placed back by the authorities.  Mr Bentley died just weeks after being moved to yet another residential home a few weeks later.

This story has been adapted from one published in one of UK’S leading newspapers on the front page.

Looking at the key issues raised by this story, you need to select a relevant and current issue in Health and Social Care, examining the role of the media by looking into the different pointers listed below:

Task 1

Explain how information on health and social care topics of concern could reach the public domain, such as in the in the case study above.

Analyse different techniques (e.g. media, leaflets, newspapers etc.) for disseminating information relating to the issue selected such as elderly care or other contemporary health and social care issue such as obesity/undernutrition; abuse of service users in care services; funding and structure of health and social care provision, or regulation of professions.   

Evaluate how the different ways in which information relating to the topic you have selected (such as elderly care) is presented, which can influence the attitudes, thoughts and behaviour of people.

Task 2

On the basis of the case study; explain ways in which the media may be used to influence the attitudes and behaviour of people in relation to health and social care issues.

Evaluate how the public can assess the reliability and validity of media information about health and social care.

Task 3

Carry out research into different perspectives on a specific issue relating to health and social care (identify a contemporary issue of your interest similar to the case study or from the range of examples used in Task 1.2). Please note that your selection of topic will determine its validity for unit 6 task 3.1.

Monitor how different perspectives collected from reliable sources on a specific health and social care issue have changed over time

Assess the relevance of the findings to health and social care practice locally. This can include the local consequences of care homes closing etc.

Analyse the factors that have influenced the development of different perspectives over a period of time.

Task 4

Based on the research you conducted, analyse the extent to which local attitudes reflect those found at a national level within your literature/media search on the specific issue in health and social care.

Evaluate the validity of public attitudes and behaviours in relation to a specific issue. Try to evaluate whether the public attitudes and behaviours to a current issue which you have researched is reasonable and justified.

Justify possible consequences of contemporary thinking for health and social care provision and services.

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