In this assignment I will be describing the discriminatory practice that may occur within health and social care and the potential effects of discriminatory practices on service users. I will also be assessing the effects of 3 different discriminatory practices on service users and the impact that this can have on them.
Infringement of rights is when you do not respect somebody’s individual rights. For example if somebody is of a particular religion or culture and has to pray at a certain time of the day and you do not allow them to carry this out, then you are infringing somebody’s rights. As a health and social care professional you need to be aware of these rights and ensure that you do not take them away from somebody. This can lead to an individual feeling devalued which can have big effects on their health, confidence and self-esteem.
Covert abuse of power- This is when a health and social care professional uses their power to discriminate against someone. This could include treating someone differently to someone else. Covert abuse of power means that someone abuses their power in a manner which does not draw direct attention to them or the practice itself. It is a means of undermining anti-discriminatory policies through the use of secretive forms of discrimination. If you reported this kind of discriminatory practice then it is often very difficult to provide inclusive evidence to support this.
Overt abuse of power is when a health and social care professional openly abuses their power. This is very similar to covert abuse of power, the only difference is that a professional will openly discriminate and abuse their power. If you witness this kind of discriminatory practice then it is often a lot easier to gain evidence for this as they do not discriminate as secretively and are very open about it.
Prejudice is a preconceived judgement or opinion. These judgements are usually from peoples negative opinions or experiences about an individual or particular group of people. For example, if you have had experiences with a male in the past and you pay more attention to females whilst you are working within a professional environment, this would be classed as prejudice. If you are working as a paramedic, and you are called to an emergency for a teenage female aged 18 who has collapsed after consuming alcohol. If you assumed that they has just drank too much and couldn’t handle it, then this would be classed as prejudice behaviour as you do not know the details of the individual or any current or previous health problems of that person. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable or professional as a health and social care worker.
Stereotyping is when you make an assumption or have a negative opinion or a person or group of people without knowing anything about them. For example; if you see a group of youths in the street wearing hooded tops, then you may automatically think that they are going to cause trouble or commit a crime. This is the general idea that people get from the media as certain age groups are constantly slated. This is a negative approach to have as if you feel badly about a person and have pre judged them then they will instantly be able to pick up on this opinion and though through your body language.
Labelling is very similar to stereotyping. If you see an individual wearing a certain brands of clothes, or talking a certain way then you may ‘brand’ them as a ‘chav’. Giving a label to someone means that you can categorise people into a certain group. For example; if you overhear someone joking around with one of their peers and you do not agree with the language that they are using, then you may label them as a bully as you feel that they have approached the situation with what you would describe as bullying behaviour. This could have a massive effect on somebody as an individual and may also result in them receiving different treatment to someone else as you do not see this ‘label’ in a positive way.
Bullying is unfortunately very common. Bullying is when somebody uses their power to intimidate somebody else. Written, physical, verbal and cyber are all different types of bullying. Cyber bullying is when you result in bullying behaviour over the internet, physical bullying could include anything from pushing someone, to punching or kicking them. Verbal bullying includes things such as name calling and saying threats. Bullying can result in low confidence, self- esteem, social isolation and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders and eating disorders.
The effects of discriminatory practice
A common reason that a service user may be referred to a service is because they have low confidence or low self-esteem. If you then discriminate against them then this could then cause them to have even lower confidence or self-worth. An individual who severely lacks confidence can lead to mental health issues such as depression, this can be severely knocked if they are then further discriminated against by a health and social care professional. You will damage the relationship which you may have built with them and it is likely that they will have lost their trust that they may have for you which will result in them not disclosing any information to you which may be a big step in their recovery or care plan. The health and social care professional needs to ensure that the service users self-esteem and confidence is maintained or raised in order to help them deal with the situation at hand.
Disempowerment is most common an effect from discrimination and bullying. If you have been bullied by an individual or group of people then you may feel as devalued or disempowered. This makes you feel as though you do not have the power to fight back against them and may lead you to developing health issues and feel as though you cannot fight against discrimination and are willing to accept the way that you are being treated.
Marginalisation is when someone feels as though they are not part of a group within society. This is a potential effect of discrimination because someone is made to stand out and made to be different in front of an audience. Therefore, they then feel as though they are alone and marginalised from the rest of the society or other service users. For example, if someone is admitted to private care as there is no availability for them anywhere else they may feel as though they are being treated differently from others because of that. They may feel as though they are being discriminated against because of who and where they are.
By treating somebody differently to others, you may be restricting their opportunities. This may be because of their age, gender, religion, sexuality or culture. For example; in a school setting, if you have a football team and a female turns up for practice but you do not let her continue this because she is a female and the rest of the team are male, this would be restricting her opportunities because of her gender
Negative behaviour, aggression and criminality are all common effects as a result of discriminatory practice. Individuals may express their anger out on health and social care professionals, police or teachers. This may result in their treatment going backwards which is not a positive step regarding their health. They may physically or verbally attack someone that they trust which will have an effect on their relationship and trust boundaries.
One of the discriminatory practices that I have chosen to assess is bullying. I have chosen this one as it is such a common problem within society and I have also personally witnessed and been through some of the effects in which it has on people.
Sophie is 15 and attends Highlands’s secondary School. She is currently in a residential children’s home and has been since the age of 11. Sophie has always been a very academic student and always achieved high grades. She has a close group of friends who she spends a lot of time with at school and socialises with them through social networking internet sites such as Facebook.
Shortly after the summer holidays, Sophie disclosed to her personal tutor at school that she had received numerous threats through the internet from one of her close friends. Not wanting to draw attention to herself or cause any trouble, Sophie continued with her studies and school life as normal but was constantly being mocked and knocked down by the girl in question. She would get pushed and kicked when walking through the corridors at breaks, and get called names throughout lessons.
As a result of this incident, Sophie became very withdrawn and social isolated. She stopped playing sport and no longer had any interest in interacting with her peers at the residential home. When the support workers tried to talk to her, she would constantly shout at them to go away as she wanted to go on her own. This is a clear sign or Low self-esteem and self-identity as an effect of bullying.
The second effect of discriminatory practice which I am going to assess is restricted opportunities.
Chloe is a care assistant at Cherry Tree Lodge residential home and has worked there for the past 3 months. Although she is new to working within health and social care, she thoroughly enjoys her job and feels confident within her role as a care assistant despite the minimal training that she has had. She has come straight from school and only holds basic GCSE’s in Maths and English.
Her manager has asked her to organise an outing to the local church so that service users can get involved with the community and meet local members of the church. She asks the service users if they would like to come and gets a positive response. She does not however, ask Mr Mambo if he would like to attend, she has not asked him because he is of African ethnic origin and knows that he attends a different church and is not a practising catholic. She assumes that because of this, he would not accept this invitation. This is both discrimination and restricting his opportunities as Chloe did not offer him the invitation. Even if you do consider his religion, you should also consider his human rights and ask if he would like to visit the church as well with the other service users.
The final discriminatory practice which I am going to assess is abuse.
Betty is 71 years old and lives at Cherry Tree Lodge residential home. Betty has dementia and has lived here for the past 7 years since her husband passed away which meant that there was no one left to care for her. Betty is friendly with all of the other service users and gets along well with all of the friendly staff who will do anything that they can to ensure that her needs are met and that she is happy.
Betty has noticed that there is a new care assistant working at the home called Laura. Betty asks Laura to help her go to the toilet, Laura replies that she will as soon as she has finished her break. Betty does not think that this is acceptable but has limited mobility so has to wait for her to finish as all of the other staff are helping other service users. Laura takes another 20 minutes to finish her break which results in Betty struggling to go to the toilet by herself. Betty falls on the floor and damages her hip.
Although Betty makes a full recovery, she now finds it very hard to trust the other staff at Cherry Tree Lodge who she recently had a very good relationship with. She does not talk to the staff other than when it is absolutely necessary and would rather struggle to do things on her own rather than ask the staff to help her. As a result of the previous incident, she has lost all trust in the staff and does not feel that they will help her when she needs it. She has lost her confidence as a result of this discriminatory practice and it should not ever be seen in a professional health and social care setting.