Social economic factors affecting health

8 August 2016

Social and economic factors can influence and impact on an individual’s state of health vastly. Each aspect effects an individual in various different ways producing negative and positive outcomes, more commonly referred to as health detriments (Brooker and Waugh, 2007). Health detriments are described as being varied, multiple and interlinked, Dahlgren and Whitehead (1991) further expanded that the health detriments are considered to be on a five level multifactorial model.

The model illustrates health detriments around an individual’s core factors, individual lifestyle factors can be influenced by family and other social networks, whereas socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions are influenced and controlled by a collection of people such as government or an organisation. Overall, each detriment impacts an individual’s life, an uneven balance of these detriments can create inequalities and lesser opportunities. Socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions which are prevalent in modern day society include unemployment rates, stability within the political system and interest rates.

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Brooker and Waugh, (2007) highlight that the access to health and social services is a key determinant of health. Adler and Ostrove, (2006) and Brooker and Waugh, (2007) list poverty as one of the main detriments of health and explain how health differences between countries – this is more associated with absolute poverty which is meeting basic human needs and population groups within a society – this is associated with relative poverty which relates to living standards .

Differences within health reflect much on social standing, which translates to access to resources, education, employment, housing and participation in modern day society. Individuals which require the aid of health professionals are referred to as service users, these individuals are the principal reason why support systems and public services exist today. Service users aim to live a more independent and thrive whilst under care in a safe environment (Bowling et al. , 2002). Bignall and Butt, (2000) state that service users feel independence is achieved when they have an ability to influence decisions over the control of their lives.

Person cantered care encompasses what an individual needs are and works towards achieving a tailored effective care plan with the view of being influenced as much as possible by the recipient of the care. Person-cantered planning can aid in achieving this aim. Various service users’ conditions and views will mean that planning is not going to be homogenous due to change. Everson and Zhang (2000) state that one of the most important factors to achieving person cantered care is having a positive relationship been the health professionals and the service user.

However, Mansell and Beadle-Brown (2004) highlighted that behaviours which are deemed challenging by the service user leads to negative emotional consequences for health professionals. This discourages health professionals from engaging with service users often, thus jeopardising person centred care. Encompassing service users cultural needs increases person centred care, ensuring that the individuals cultural needs are meet and also reduces the apprehensions of the service users families (Hubert’s, 2004). Ericson et al. , (2001) state that family inclusion in person centred care is paramount to the effectiveness and success of the care.

However, La Fountaine, (2004) claims that the approach is too individualistic, as the structure fails to see the individuals place within their family. Contrastingly, Sanderson (2000) claims that person centred care adequately locates individuals in the context of their family. The addition of non-professionals in the form of friends and family is a key element of person centred planning of care (Maudslay, 2002). The implementation of family is a forward thinking approach, however, family members may become aggravated by the lack of investment from formal medical support, where family members have to step in (Felce, 2004).

Brown and Scott (2005) added that health professionals must be vigilant in decision making as family members do not always make the best or most appropriate decisions for service users. Although, Sanderson (2000) urges that health professionals should view families input positively, expanding that the family personally understands the service user from their own perspective, claiming that health professionals need to make more effort with service users families, stereotyping families as overprotective is damaging to the person centred care process.

Barriers to person centred care are typical of any other initiative these include; legal issues, policy making and expectations of policy, culture attitudes, resources available, funding directed at initiative, staff level of skill and management styles. Socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions and person centred care are interlink greatly. A person’s level of person centred care is based around the factors that also impact on a person’s state of health, similarly to the model illustrating health- family is very influential and also factors that are uncontrollable such as funding from government impact similarly too.

This is reflected also onto the level of person centred care available to the service user. Person centred care is a very forward thinking initiative but still has some way to go and requires more input not just at a personal level but also at a higher level in the form of government funding which would enable the initiative to improve on essential elements to person centred care such as staff training, staffing levels and resources available to professionals and improvement of manager allowing themselves to adopt person centred approaches towards their own staff, creating an ethos for all too encompasses and follow.

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