Health and Social-Care: Case-Study


Social and health care consists of both medical and emotional support. The absence of either of the two may lead to a deep impact on patients. Being unwell or affected by a fatal disease like bowel cancer is an event that has a deep impact on the lives of the patients and individuals who are close to her. Hence, it becomes essential for social and health care to offer support to the near and dear ones of the patients along with the patients themselves. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

1.Understanding how Significant Life Events Impact on Individuals and their Social Networks

1.1Explanation of the Impact of Significant Life Events on Individuals

There is no doubt in the fact that life is a continuous process. An individual in his life faces range of events. Some of the events may turn out to be impactful while some of the events may simply be considered as insignificant. According to the study of Sutcliffe and Alrayes (2012) there is undoubtedly impact of even insignificant events. However, at certain stages of human life there are some significant events that to an extent make deep influence on the individual.

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Incidents like birth, marriage or death are so impactful that these events are able to change the course of one’s life. For instance, in the case study, George came under the strong influence of the death even of his old mother Mrs. Gary. George who is otherwise a young married individual with a family to support and a job to meet up family experiences underwent a change of daily usual life routine when he took leave from office and went to the hospital to spend some quality time with his dying mother. Although, in his usual life he failed to spend some good time with his mother as he was occupied with their own personal life affairs, he drastically changed his daily courses of life when he realized that is mother is dying. He undertook such changes probably out of the feeling of loss and death, an unusual feeling which he never had faced previously. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

Linking it with the Kubler Ross model where, George was in shock to deny that his mother is no more. While being emotional there is anger brewing for mother not informing him, while he bargained for the compromising but could not do so (Cacciatore. & Flint, 2012). He went into depression, and hence could not control own emotions and thought process where he lost the questions without getting answers. Joining a social group that supported and listened to him was the end result that helped him to do acceptance with reality. So, at certain times occurrence of significant life events lead to psychological and environmental change, which go on to influence on individuals strength and weakness of character and success and defeat in life (King et al. 2006). So, the events of life can be considered to be nothing but a learning experience which to an extent is educative.

1.2Analysis of Possible Group Responses to Significant Life Events that Occur to One of its Members

Life events often lead to life and stress on individuals (Agnew et al. 2011). On the process the individual might breakdown completely and may not be able to cope up with the demands of life. For instance, the emotional turmoil faced by George when he found his mother Mrs. George to be seriously ill in hospital and to be dying soon. So, life events, those are especially sudden and leading to depression, individuals, experiencing such incidents require the support of people around him. According to the study of (Myin-Germeys et al. 2009), groups of people who have undergone similar events of life are the ones who are considered to be offering the best possible help. So, an individual who is experiencing such sudden and impactful event should be given support from peer groups. For example, George was facing a strange situation in life. George was witnessing pain and agony of his old mother awaiting for an impending death and also at the same time thoughts of his family whom he had left mile away. Boelen et al. (2003) added that under situation individuals might find it to be difficult to cope up with the stress and hence may even fall prey to depression and psychological collapse. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

Under such a condition, George took a prudent step of being part of a group who are also suffering from similar complex situations. The peer group offered support to George emotionally and also enabled him to fulfill his mother’s last wish. George with the aid of the group was able to convince the members of Mrs. Gary’s school regarding the pain of death and need to collect money for charity. So, the group’s support has been found to be quite crucial for George to overcome his sorrows, inhibitions and gain strength to conduct constructive work.

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1.3Analysis of the Impact for Others in Health and Social Care when an Individual Experiences Significant Life Events

On the issue of Health and Social Care, Feijten et al. (2008) opined that there is significant impact for others at the time when an individual experiences significant events of life. Human beings by nature are social by their instinct. Hence, when an individual suffers from pain, the other individuals around too get affected (Carmichael, 2005). It is when the suffering individuals receive external help in order to offer comfort. Social and health care is one such human institution, whose primary objective is to offer emotional and medicinal help to individuals suffering from life changing events. So, deeper analysis reveals that if people associated to social health care are found to be ignorant towards the pain and emotional stress suffered by the patients or close relative and friends of the patients, it basically reduces the overall standard of social and health care (Chan et al. 2008). For example, when Mrs. Gary was on her death bed and breathing her last, the nurse offered little emotional support to George in the room. The nurse left the room well before, Mrs. Gary breathed her last leaving George all alone on himself. Moreover, during the last days of Mrs. Gary, George was left all along by the hospital staff. George was under the extreme stress when he was suffering from guilt of ignoring his mother for years and also at the same time worrying about the wellbeing of his family. So, basically, George was indeed suffering from a highly stressful condition which may have resulted a complete collapse or breakdown of nerve. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

However, being part of a group consisting of members who have undergone similar stressful conditions, George came out of the distress and actually took active step to ensure his mother’s dream to get fulfilled.

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2.1 Evaluate effectiveness of organizational policies and procedures

The case study points towards the lack of empathy towards the nearest kin of Mrs Gary who expired. The son George had been under stress and unable to communicate to his own young family about it, which led the situation to be worse. As an individual experiencing someone to face death in front of oneself is a very traumatic situation, especially when it is related to the cancer. The hospital had no provisions for communicating the tragic loss of the nearest relative of the patient which made it more worse to cope (Field et al. 2007). The audacity of the nurse to show no feelings or empathy for the prolonged breathing of Mrs Garry was not a display of professional behavior to a situation which could have been handled much better. The effectiveness of the policies that outline the health care worker role like the cancer and palliative care 2005 outlines how the death of elderly patients who are terminally ill, have full knowledge of the stage it is in. It also guides on the issues of the terminally ill patients undergoing specialized palliative care to understand the concept of dying to the family members and that the patient dies with dignity (Forte et al. 2004). Some of these interventions are standard procedures in all specialized treatment hospitals for cancer. The next policy that is important, Shaping bereavement care 2010 which states that the hospital services are standard practices mostly to the partner who is surviving to cope up with the vaccum created. Grande et al. (2004) apart from the psychological counselling, there is financial counselling available for terminally ill families while the team that works on the patient are being trained to handle the shock of the dying process and death, grief and loss in the hospital itself. It seems that the hospital in the case was not complying to the shaping the family experiences of the deceased patient which should have been the culture and procedure. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

2.2 Social network providing support:

The aspect of the social networking which is shown in the case study is a group where its formation is fueled by similar interests (Hudson et al. 2012). The need for everyone is of same nature regarding an issue but might have a different intensity. The social networking group can be open or closed but the group members usually interact to share their thoughts, feelings, expressions which they are not able to handle. The case of George was similar as depicted in the case study. There are ‘compassionate friends’ which is a social networking global group that helps to find the local chapter through the website, and it is also present internationally (Kellehear & Fook, 2010). The group supports through different causes one of them being ‘newly bereaved’ who needs to join the open group. There features of asking near and dear ones to join compassionate walk, through group meetings at local places, while globally holding e-meetings through ‘webinars’ which allows members to discuss their personal feelings of grieving process (Paul, 2013). They provide psychological support though email, or call up people, introduce through friends, which is a commitment to the one who joins them. Most modern in its approach they are able to localise and also globalise and make the interaction between the ‘newly bereaved member’ to interact with the in-house psychologists and help to form a supportive group as long as the member needs (Pennebaker et al. 2001). Unlike in spiritual support the respective faith does, in social networking through online mode it is more fast to help out to people. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

2.3 Evaluating the suitability of external sources support

The support services provided are of different types and encompass a wide variety. Usually it has been seen, that the friends and neighbors come to rescue when the individual is in the state of shock after the expiry of the near one has happened (Stephen et al. 2009). The aspect is called unsought services which any individual does not want as death funeral service is a negative experience. So the recommendations from the external sources show the organisations like ‘Age UK’ offer comprehensive services which can help to calculate the care journey, benefits, and how to deal with the online and pension scams (Stroebe et al. 2007). They provide support for loneliness which is apt for the nuclear family structure and also teaches to brace the life to promote the independence factor. So apart from the emotional support, some of the reality grabbers are settlement of insurance, hearing aids, buy a funeral plan, which is a journey to get and brace death steadily (Simeonova, 2013). They also give advice to safeguard the old age’s money so that they can lead a worry free life. So the avenues have opened up to normalise the bereaved member to be a part of the maintstream life process where companies are helping people to accommodate gradually with the reality of singleness. The external sources are formed in groups that have similar incidents in and around the treatment facility that spawns the extending of the help (Tatsuno et al. 2012). People generally interact through the word of mouth which helps to facilitate to spread the word of bereavement that attracts the critical information flow towards the person affected. As the whole process is a passive one, where the marketing element of services draws flak, and is more relationship oriented that makes people aware of the support when the incident happens (Williams et al. 2008).

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3.1 Organisational responses to meet support individuals for significant life event:

The health care organisation needs to lay down the plan for specific policies that are related to the patient, the immediate family member of the patient, especially when it is a significant life event. The above case study showed the manner in which the organisation was not prepared and did not have a procedure to deal with bereavement process for an immediate family member. So ideally in order to benchmark the best possible practices and adopt the procedures, the following must happen in the hospital premises itself. The one to one support from the resident psychologist or the team can assist when the bereaved member seeks support or seems disillusioned. Helping with the rituals such as mummifying the body, the next course of rituals, the financial elements in each of the cases should be a great help at that point of time (Wimpenny et al. 2007). The extension of services from the hospital for referring the contacts of funerals services are free, so is counselling at all places when the incident has happened. The readiness factor of the hospital with a team that will facilitate all the ensuing procedures should be a specific department which will enable this procedure into best practices (Wright et al. 2008). The assessment of the psychologist should also entail with the reference of the groups that the nearest kin can be informed or introduced. These steps are important as mostly the shock of the grief makes the person withdrawal from the societal obligations. Therefore the introducing the individual through emailing, phone to the representative of a group therapy for emotional support, social networking bereavement clubs near to home can be arranged to expedite the process.

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3.2 Reflect on own personal contributions to support individuals with significant life events

My support to terminal case of cancer for a colleague of mine who works in my office was spontaneous and the background runs somewhat like this in early part of this year. I happened to visit the hospital where my mother in law was admitted undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer stage four. The colleague wanted a leave early in the morning for his neighborhood friend undergoing treatment at the same hospital for bone cancer. I was slated to visit in the late afternoon time to check on the progress while I bumped into my colleague who had his friend admitted in ward opposite to the one I had to visit. The colleague told me that since last two days the conditions of his friend was deteriorating as vital indicators were falling, and then he said, of his friend’s sad demise. I was shocked and searched for words, while he told me they used to go to school together with tears in eyes. My immediate reaction was to put an arm while he cried and cried and then stopped after a while. I could feel my colleagues feelings for the long lost battle of cancer which his friend has put through. There were good stories of friend who saved from an accident when they were in college and gradually started to speak less. I started consoling him stating that death is inevitable process but the path chosen is not in our hands. So need to accept the reality for my colleague was harder as all the family members of his childhood friend was crying including the mother of the deceased and most importantly he has a wife and a four year old son as well, which i came to know in due course of time. The next course of action is that I took him to canteen while the health care workers balmed the body of his friend. My questions to him was more specific about payments made, if funeral service is arranged and the next course of action to take his friend to the home, buy wreathes on the way which are important things he need to do. In this manner I tried to bring him on realism plane while his mind was wandering on the emotional plane plagued by past incidents of his friend. So I took the papers and got in touch to expedite the process of the papers, payments along with him so that they set sail towards home in the funeral service car sooner. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

3.3 Recommendations to improve

After going through the case study and the real life situation in a hospital that I have faced, I found there are possibilities to improve the current health care services for this part of the life. Death is a natural process and educating the near ones to accept it through counselling, however close or attached they are with the deceased patient with terminal illness, the administration should segregate the in-house support services. There should be relationship based approach through nurses, administration department to offer the next course of action as immediate kin becomes disillusioned. The nursing staff can console and psychologists should attend with immediacy affect which will help one to one therapy to present a more clearer picture of reality. The minimal involvement and paperwork which helps the family member to release the deceased from the hospital premises and alight it to the funeral services helps to add to positive professional experiences. “Health and Social-Care: Case-Study”.

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