Values are standards and principals by which we live our lives. These standards are many and often depend on people`s background e.g. Culture, class, religion, gender, age. Values are extremely individual attitudes that direct people`s responses to the world around them. Amongst some of the values I live my life by and respect are privacy allowing me to have space to myself and respecting the fact that others may desire privacy, to be safe and also allowing others the same, having self respect, being trustworthy, being non judgmental, being anti discriminatory, respect life and faith, value freedom and equality, value choice and others points of view. I have learned to live my life this way from my parents and their families. The schools and church where I was taught , espoused the values of human dignity, solidarity for the common good , charity , and the family, all of which I continue to hold dear. I therefore try to ensure that I treat people the way I would like to be treated. Because of these values, I am able to work happily alongside the organization I volunteer for, as their policies and procedures represent many of these common values. We ensure the right to dignity, choice, respect, privacy, and protection. I must consider my clients beliefs and preferences.
I currently volunteer as a Befriender for a group that helps adults with learning disabilities become included within the community through socialization, by matching Befriendees with supportive Befrienders. I, as a volunteer for this organization, provide their service participants with the opportunity to take a full and satisfying part in their community. I also help to raise awareness of issues affecting adults with learning difficulties in community participation.
I did this in a major way by participating in the collection and presentation of our petition to the Scottish Parliament to request that Befriending is to be financed with core funding. Although Befriending, to help social inclusion was briefly mentioned as a means of supporting adults with learning disabilities in “Same as you Strategy”2000, this article has never been defined by the government as a core service to be provided by councils. As a result, Befriending for Adults with Learning Disabilities has rarely been financed or delivered by statutory services. However, the social work department is the main means of referral to our organization and so for the moment receive this service free, financed by charitable donations. I feel this is a form of statutory discrimination against our client group and hope our petition resolves this situation. This petition has received a positive reaction from the petitions committee and is still going through the committee processes.
The core values of our organisation are underpinned by the National Care Standards, which were set up under the Regulation of Care (Scotland)Act 2001. This Act came about to regulate the care and social work force and set out the principals of good care practice.
The Care Commission was set up under this Act to register, regulate, and inspect all care services listed in the Act. It also established The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). The SSSC has aims and objectives to protect the service users, raise standards, strengthen, and support workforce professionalism. There are six main standards laid down in National Care Standards that are at the centre of any care practice.
Dignity “making someone feel worthy and impressive” as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary. I ensure that I give dignity by respecting individuals for who they are. I recognise all individuals are different and I am sensitive and aware of this.
Privacy and confidentiality is the need and right to privacy. The principle of confidentiality between me and the service user is built on mutual respect and trust. Confidentiality is further reinforced by the Data Protection Act 1998. This allows our service users to see any information that is held on them.
I must ensure that this information is held securely in a locked filing cabinet. Any information I write in an activity plan must be truthful, factual, and accurate with my opinions to be objective.
Choice means giving and explaining different options to individuals. I support our service users by encouraging their right to choose. By offering they limited options that will encourage them to look at positive alternatives within a safe environment.
Safety means that I must ensure my service user when in my care, is protected from harm and abuse. If I suspect or observe that harm and abuse has or is taking place, against a service user, I must report the incident in an Incident Report Form within 36 hrs of the episode to my line manager. I also complete a risk assessment form before any activity.
Realising Potential ensures that I must allow my service users the chance to aim to achieve things great and small within their abilities.
These core values are represented within our organisations policies and procedures. To ensure client safety we have a Health and Safety Policywhich is designed to comply with the Health and Safety at work Act 1974. Risk Assessments are used on a daily basis before an activity to ensure that the staff and clients are safe on the premises. We also have Accident and Incident Reporting procedures which are required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation 1995(RIDDOR), Social Security Regulations 1979 (SRR),Data Protection Act, to be reportedin an efficient manner.
I must complete relevant forms and report to my line manager. If an event requires reporting directly to RIDDOR the records should be kept securely for at least three years. Our Equalities policy complies with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and 1986, the Race Relations Act of 1976 and the Race Relation Amendments Regulations of 2003, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Our organization opposes all forms of unfair and unlawful discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, religion, nationality, social background, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age and disability. It also promotes the principle of equal opportunities in paid employment, voluntary work, and service provision. Although it is important to apply positive values within my practice, it is sometimes difficult to do so. Giving someone choice needs to be balanced by ensuring that this choice is safe and positive.
Giving Adults with Learning Disabilities too many choices can cause confusion and sometimes fear. So I give limited positive choices to ensure that this does not happen.
Safety issues can also limit choices, as under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and National Care Standards it is important that I ensure my client is safe from harm and abuse. If a risk assessment shows that an activity is not suitable to the client because of safety issues then the choice of doing that particular activity is reduced. The values conflicting here are my clients health and safety and his right to choice. Privacy and confidentiality is dealt with in our Confidentiality policy. Our organization requires information about clients, volunteers, staff other organizations and our own organization.
I am therefore committed to ensuring that all information is stored safely which also allows appropriate retrieval. Confidential material must be kept in a locked cabinet. Volunteers are only able to see files “on a need to know basis only”. Computer access is limited to authorized staff and information backed up. All of these policies are compatible with the Data Protection Act 1998.If a client discloses something to me and asks me not to tell anyone then I must respect his/her wishes as a matter of trust. However, sometimes this can be difficult, especially if abuse is disclosed. Under these circumstances I am obliged to tell him/her that I understand his/her need for confidentiality, but the circumstances require me to advise my line manager in writing and that this will be in his/her best interests and to try not to worry. The values conflicting here are protection from harm and abuse and confidentiality. As we do not supply a care service, we are not required to register with the Care Commission, but we ensure all our policies and procedures meet their standards.
As all clients under these standards are legally allowed an individualized care plan, we instead have an activity plan. To ensure no discrimination takes place the client is assessed using (Ref1)PIES.
We take into account, our clients Physical needs, Intellectual needs, Emotional needs, and Social needs. Needs were first described as requirements for our survival in the model put forward by (Ref 2) Abraham Maslow, a Humanist Psychologist. He stated that human needs can be arranged in a stepladder pyramid and that the lower level needs must be satisfied before higher levels can be met.
Starting from the basic psychological need , then moving to safety and security, social, esteem, and self- actualization. He suggested that not satisfying these needs the person could become frustrated and emotionally distressed, with possibly poverty and crisis taking place. He also suggested that these needs must be met in order.
Prejudice as (Ref3) defined in the Collins dictionary “is an unreasonable dislike of a particular group of people or things, or a preference for a one group of people or things over another”. Prejudice is caused by a lack of understanding of something, causing the wrong impression to be created. (Ref4)The Functionalist perspectives state that society can be likened to the human body, with different organs (institutions) having different functions yet all working together to keep the body (society) alive. The negative aspects of discrimination according to the functionalists state that it exacerbates poverty and crime, that society fails to use the resources of all individuals, discourages good will, and discourage the resolution of disputes. These negative aspects can provide jobs by having to employ police officers, justice system, and civil servants. Although not to be encouraged, the functionalists state that the positive aspects of prejudice keep people in their proper place within society and discourage them from questioning their place within society. The functionalists believe that it is normal for one group to be superior to the other, that society is unequal and competition within society is natural. Discrimination happens when one group does not want to have another group change their set roles. Changes in the economy can see prejudice affecting those in poverty because other groups may feel that the benefit system budget is being abused by those who are out of work. Prejudice can be seen in my client group, which has a definite need of the benefit system. Working with people with learning disabilities has shown me that prejudice arises amongst some of the local community.
This is a small section of the community pre- judging those with learning disabilities through lack of knowledge and so they hold unfavourable views or opinions towards people who are different and so bullying can take place. Adults with learning disabilities are a section of society that tends not to be able to stand up for themselves.
They rely on family, social workers, advocacy workers, and support workers to advise them on their rights, choices, and responsibilities. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, some sections of this community may not receive this relevant information.
They do not receive the care, benefits, and advice that they need, or they do not receive the statutory services they deserve. This can be caused by certain people denying our client group their rights and so discriminate against them. Harassment, bullying, and hate crimes of those with learning disabilities takes place in many areas.
The recent death of a mother and daughter burned to death in England after numerous threats and harassment is an excessive example and result of discrimination. Discrimination takes place through fear, misunderstanding, misinformation, and so as well as laws against discrimination, we need to educate and provide training against it. To try to ensure that the incident that took place does not happen in our community, our organization is involved in providing a training service to the community.
I have taken part in training to try to educate youths from the local secondary school about
Learning Disabilities. This resulted in them becoming peer volunteers to younger children with Learning Disabilities from the local school for autistic children. A music group was set up to bring these two groups of youngsters together, with positive results.
(Ref 5) Adults with Learning Disabilities are more likely to develop health problems. Therefore, without support, they may not be able to make their feelings known and so screening and or treatment may be denied. The need for support to allow them to lead as normal a life as their abilities allow and to access services, has a financial cost to society.
The belief that people with learning disabilities, are a financial burden to society, and not providing relevant support is evidence of discrimination.Their ill health has my client group adults with learning disabilities relying on benefits. Therefore, being able to afford the use of transport and taking part in social activities are reduced for those who are on benefits. This is more evident in those with learning disabilities in rural areas. They are socially excluded and marginalized, through the lack of affordable and regular transport services.
The chances of employment for this group of individuals are rare as most do not have the capacity to engage in work and so they will continue to live on benefits. Psychologically that can result in depression, low self- esteem, frustration, or anger. Causing their behaviour to be affected, by them becoming withdrawn or violent.
Through legislation, social care organizations now have to be more accountable and have increasing responsibilities to write and maintain policy and procedures. These have to comply with current legislation and exist to protect people`s rights and ensure quality services are provided. Our policies and procedures must have specific guidelines, for example, they cover confidentiality and privacy, equal opportunities, health and safety, abuse policies, lone working practices, activity planning and reviews and risk assessment and management.
I have a responsibility to read the organizations policy and procedures thoroughly and integrate them into my practice. I should query any uncertainties and report any infringements. If I am uneasy about the practice of others within the organization or within any other agency I come into contact with, I must report to my line manager and seek advice. My manager has a responsibility to produce these policies and procedures ensuring they incorporate current legislation. Management ensures that staff and service users have easy access to them. Discussion and reflection of policies and procedures to ensure they are justified and explained to staff is encouraged. I receive continued training, support, and supervision and engage in partnership working with relevant agencies.
1. Elizabeth Bingham +. (2009). Social Care: Group Award Graded Unit. In: Heinemann HNC in Social Care. Edinburgh: Heinemann. 147.
2. Elizabeth Bingham +. (2009). Psychological perspectives and Theories on development and needs.
In: Heinemann HNC in Social Care. Edinburgh: Heinemann. 86-89.
4. Eliz Bingham + (2009). HNC in Social Care. Edinburgh: Heinemann. 112