Illustrate how to promote service users` rights and responsibilities.

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Assessment Objective One

Illustrate how to promote service users` rights and responsibilities.

In care settings the term quality practice is used to describe the promotion of service users` rights, which are essentially the same rights that are afforded to everyone else, such as the right to marry and freedom of expression; Care workers must actively promote the rights of service users in order to maintain quality practice.

For this assignment I am going to discuss three rights that service users have; the right to make complex decisions, to make their own choices and to dignity and privacy, and why it is important that these rights are upheld. In the latter part of this assignment the tensions that can arise in care settings will be examined, as well as possible solutions.

Service users have the right to make complex decisions

Service users should be encouraged to make decisions for themselves and must always be consulted on matters that will affect them. If a carer makes decisions for a service user without first gaining their input, then this would be in violation of the service users` individual rights under article three of the Human Rights Act, (Fisher, 2006).

If a service user has difficulty with making decisions then they could benefit from having an advocate appointed. An advocate could be someone close to the service user, such as a friend, family member or perhaps a trained volunteer who, when using citizen advocacy, will speak on their behalf. It would be inappropriate for a carer or care manager to take on this role; having an advocate who is under no pressure to meet the needs of the organisation is essential as an advocate must represent the best interests of the service user. An advocate must be able to communicate effectively, be sensitive and supportive towards the service user, be honest, and have patience with them. The use of advocacy may be needed because the service user:

  • wishes to make a complaint
  • wants a change in treatment
  • has requested to see their medical records or wants to change doctors
  • is ill
  • has learning difficulties
  • is too young to understand

Self advocacy may be more suitable in some situations; it is a process where service users receive training and support to develop the skills necessary to speak out for themselves, and in doing so achieve greater independence, (Fisher, 2006).

Advocacy should always be available in care settings as it allows vulnerable individuals who are unable to communicate their needs and wishes effectively, to have a voice.

To enable service users to make informed decisions up to date information should always be provided. Treatments and services available in a care setting can be altered, removed or replaced with new treatments over time, so providing information about services available several years ago would be unbeneficial and could cause confusion. Information should also be presented in an easy to understand manner, with any technical terminology fully explained.

Participating in decision making processes is important for service users as it can help them to feel in control of their lives, and valued, as their wishes are taken seriously. It also helps to maintain the service users` independence, and helps to ensure that they get the correct services they want and need.

Service users have the right to make choices

Service users are entitled to make everyday choices, such as what food they wish to eat, what time they go to bed and get up, and what activities they wish to join. Encouraging service users to make choices is all about promoting independence, which at times may involve some level of risk (such as if service users want to go out shopping etc). It would be the care workers’ responsibility to assess (in collaboration with the service user) whether the amount of risk attached to certain activities is acceptable or not. Service users have the right to take risks, but the carers involved have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the service user.

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It is important that service users are encouraged to make their own choices, for example if a carer chose what activities to involve a service user in, the service user may not enjoy themselves as much, feel bored, and miss out on socialising with others who share the same interests. Intellectual stimulation and socialising are important for maintaining mental well-being; which is very important, as illustrated by the World Health Organisation`s definition of health as:

‘Health is a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.

Care workers can ...

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

This is an excellent essay on the rights of service users. It has a lot of good and relevant examples and also has excellent referencing throughout. It could be enhanced in a couple of areas, particularly that of communication and barriers. A little more theory would help. *****