Health and social care is a diverse field, encompassing many different aspects of human life. It involves a lot of ethical decision making. Anyone interested in working within this sector will need a solid grounding in ethics and the relevant laws.
National policies have catalyzed initiatives to test new integrated health and social care models. Early experience reveals significant challenges, including the need for validated measures of social risk and alignment of incentives.
It helps people lead fulfilling lives
Integrated health and social care is a critical part of improving a population’s overall quality of life. To do so, governments must first understand the social-care needs of their citizens and prioritize those that can be met most effectively. This requires a shift from a medical-based approach that establishes rigid categories to a more holistic, needs-based one that assesses people’s daily lives and the impact of their disabilities.
To receive social care, you must apply to your local authority for an assessment of your needs. If you’re found eligible, you’ll be offered a plan to address them. These plans can range from providing support with preparing meals and managing money to getting help in finding housing or living alone.
The field of health and social care is constantly evolving, with advancements in treatment and technologies. Training helps professionals keep up with these changes, fostering adaptability. Moreover, it prepares them for the ethical challenges they face on a daily basis, including issues related to privacy and legal rights.
It helps people stay independent
Often, non-medical problems, such as poverty, housing instability, or inadequate food and medicine access, prevent people from maintaining good health and getting the care they need. However, social care is designed to address these problems and provide the help and support people need to stay independent.
Various policy initiatives have been launched over the past decade to improve integrated health and social care, with a focus on the US Medicaid public insurance program for Americans with low incomes. These efforts have included screening patients for social risks in primary care clinics, building new cross-sector collaborations, and using Medicaid healthcare dollars to directly finance social service interventions.
While these policy initiatives may have some benefits, they also come with challenges. For example, many experts worry that health-centered integration efforts can medicalize social needs or overburden underfunded social services. Furthermore, they do not address the upstream, community-level root causes of health-related inequities. They are also hampered by poor study design and a focus on process measures.
It helps people stay healthy
Health and social care is the term used to describe healthcare and community support services. While healthcare covers medical treatments, including GP surgeries and hospitals, health and social care involves supporting people who are sick or disabled. These services are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding illness.
Conventional thinking conveniently conceptualizes health and social care as separate spheres with distinct funding, regulation, and research. But Jon Glasby challenges this over simplification, arguing that they are inter-linked and have significant implications for coordination, accountability, and governance.
Over the past decade, a number of national and state policy initiatives have advanced integrated health and social care in the US. These efforts have targeted the most socially vulnerable Americans, insured through Medicaid public insurance programs. They have ranged from individual-level activities such as screening patients for social risk in primary care clinics and establishing new cross-sector referral networks to broader community-level approaches such as intensive community navigation and partnerships between health clinics and food banks.
It helps people manage their money
Health and social care is an umbrella term for numerous services in the public (NHS) and private sector that treat ill-health, as well as those that focus on patients’ non-clinical needs. As such, a career in this field can offer many opportunities for those who are looking to help others.
National and state policy initiatives over the last decade have prioritized integrated health and social care. These include screening for social risks in primary care clinics, funding social care using healthcare dollars, and establishing new cross-sector collaborations.
To improve quality, integration should extend to the operational level. A good example is the use of a case manager who assesses a person’s social care eligibility and manages their commissioned services, as well as their direct payments. This approach helps to coordinate services and provide a more seamless experience for the client.