There are many ways that health and social care professionals can work as partners, supporting individuals and providing a ‘package of care’ which meets all the needs. These are some examples of professional partnerships which can be successful if they are used in the right way.
People who are employed by the same service for example, social services they will work as part of a team to provide support for an individual. This might include a social worker, a family support worker or a probation officer and a youth counsellor. These would all work together to support a family that have a mixture of social issues. It is important for each of the individuals to view themselves as part of a team, even though they don’t usually work with each other, sharing information and get together to discuss their progress on a regular basis, otherwise the partnership will fail and the individual service users will not be sustained. You will also find that multidisciplinary teams work within the health service; for example, a person who has a had a hip replacement will need the nurse to help change the dressing and check the development of the wound, a physiotherapist to support the development of mobility and the surgeon who performed the operation to check on the overall progress. All of these professionals work together to plan and carry out the support so that the patient can then make a full recovery.
People who are employed by different agencies may also work together. This is to provide support for an individual or a family, for example a social worker, an occupational therapist, community nurse and a care officer would work with someone who had a physical disability. It is vital that all of these professionals recognise themselves as a team, share information and co-operate to stop any mistakes occurring. Some horrible mistakes have happened when professionals have worked together across agencies, for example vital information has not been communicated properly.
Voluntary and statutory sector
Voluntary groups such as Samaritans may work with statutory organisations such as counselling to protect individuals that experience distress, despair or suicidal thoughts. It is important that these groups put aside any bias and recognise each other as professionals who are all working towards the same aim. Other voluntary groups such as Age Concern work with statutory agencies such as social services and health visitors to support older people and their families.
Users of service forums
Service forums are made up of individuals who use a certain service and some of the professionals that provide this. For example, some people use a particular health centre, the practice manager and doctors who are partners in the practice may meet once a month to discuss how the service could be improved for the people who use it.
Ways in which individuals benefit from agencies that work together
Dementia is a common condition that affects about 800,000 people in the UK. Dementia is a syndrome which is associated with the brain and the decline of its abilities. It includes problems such as: memory loss thinking speed mental agility language understanding judgment A person with dementia is advised to get a health and social care assessment. This assessment is carried out by social services to find out what help and support a person living with dementia. For example, healthcare equipment, help in their home, or residential care. Disability and adaptations can be made to the individuals home as well as care homes. Many people with dementia can be cared for at home, although they will eventually need support in a residential home.
For someone who has had a recent diagnosis there are support groups available through some services.
What help is available?
A wide range of health and social care services are available to people with dementia and their carers. There