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Empowering the Vulnerable: Enhancing Health and Social Care for Individuals with Specific Needs

Empowering the Vulnerable: Enhancing Health and Social Care for Individuals with Specific Needs

People with specific health and social care needs are a priori the most unprotected in every society. They demand understanding from people without disabilities caused by congenital diseases, trauma during the working process and accidents, or age-related weakness. The modern healthcare system is quite mature and efficient. However, it requires modification and improvement. Every progressive state and its citizens must explore specific needs in health, support weaker fellow countrymen and people with disorders, improve their living conditions through establishing and developing state institutions, and promote personal involvement.

Core Concepts of Health, Disability, Illness, and Behaviour with Health and Social Care Service Users

According to the definition of the World Health Organisation, “health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. Health stages are categorized as mental, social, physical, and spiritual.

“Disability” is a condition characterized by a person’s health problems with a persistent disorder of body functions. It could be related to diseases, traumas or any inborn defects leading to an individual’s inability to care for themselves and a need for social protection.

An “illness” is a violation of the normal functioning of a body due to the influence of extreme stimuli and harmful factors on it. Malformations or genetic defects can also cause an illness or disease.

“Behaviour” concerning health and social care service users is one of the key aspects of care for individuals with special needs. From the ethical side, its principles are based on respect, tolerance, and compassion. From the professional side, they are enshrined in the legal acts of state bodies and organizations that help disabled people. The core approach of this type of behavior is to let such people feel themselves full-fledged members of society.

Changes in Specific Needs’ Perceptions

In previous years, the perceptions of specific needs resulted in the establishment of large hospitals to provide physical support and psychological protection to patients with specific needs due to a prolonged disease of a psycho-emotional or physical nature. Such kind of hospitals was demanded to guarantee mass care. However, they lost their benefits because they were usually overcrowded and lacked individual approaches due to numerous illnesses and personal qualities of the patients.

Nowadays, the approach to meeting specific needs have changed a lot. It promoted the appointment of the most qualified and experienced health workers to serve in specialized communities. Disabled people are perceived today as worthy of a special approach. Most of them lead almost normal lives with the help of service system employees. Such people are no longer considered terminally ill. Today, everyone can get a chance for a full life in society.

The Impact of Legislation, Social Policy, Society and Culture on Health and Care Services’ Activity towards People with Specific Needs

The following core legislative acts and state health services of the United Kingdom should be mentioned. The Disability Rights Task Force, created in 1997, considers how to protect people with specific needs from discrimination while supporting the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and providing them with decent jobs and care. Since 1998 disabled individuals have been supported by the Disability Rights Commission as well. In October 2002, the UK Government adopted a consultation document, “Equality and Diversity: Making it Happen”, which considers equality legislation for all citizens. Thus, from the beginning of the new millennium, the rights of disabled people have been protected at the highest level.

The Health Act (1999) that came into force in April 2000 attempted to unite and better coordinate the health services funded by the local councils for the more efficient direction of the costs. It could help people with specific needs find support in the shortest terms.

Social policy and cultural issues affect people with special needs significantly. As a rule, people who cannot make sufficient use of the advantages of society because of their illness or disability have different health complications related to an impairment of their psycho-emotional state and bouts of depression. It could be caused by racial or religious discrimination as well. Great Britain is actively fighting against this problem and is trying to eliminate physical violence and psychological pressure in the social system.

Care Needs of Individuals with Specific Needs

People with special needs demand two types of support: physical and psychological. Physical support includes treatment with special drugs and therapies using personal equipment. Psychological support is needed to cope with stress and depression, which is typical for people with limited opportunities. Sometimes the second type of help is underestimated since it has no material basis. Nevertheless, it is vitally important because it sets for recovery and allows an individual to feel a part of the community.

Current Systems for Supporting People with Specific Needs

The strategy of the Health and Social Care Act implemented in April of 2013 provided the National Health Service, the Trust Development Authority, the Public Health, and the Health Education with full responsibilities. One of the core advantages of the new system is creating strong teams that consist of doctors and nurses who support the provision of services for patients financially. Thus, the Department of Health of the United Kingdom ensures that citizens can live a long and prosperous life.

Modern health systems allow disease prevention and let the elderly and disabled people undergo treatment and rehabilitation at home. Local groups and organizations get more influence in a particular workspace. The systems also involve independent benefactors who support people with special needs.

Local Support Services for Citizens with Specific Needs

East London is a proper locality for analysis because of its difficult situation. People with specific needs have a lower level of access to key health services because of some kinds of discrimination. For example, racial discrimination leads to mental illness in adults and dismay.

The East London NHS Foundation Trust is the primary establishment of the rights and freedoms of the citizens as well as the core center of guarantee of all kinds of significant support. Social workers encourage people with disabilities from the local communities to realize their life potential.

Originally, the foundation was established as a trust center for people with psychological problems in East London. However, it offers a variety of specialists and health services at the local level in Newham. The ground of the trust center also includes Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and the City of London. The working staff ensures a number of basic services for many families outside East London, thus making a difference in people’s lives. They provide specialized help in the sphere of mental health in North-East London, Essex, and Hertfordshire; psychological treatment in Richmond and Luton; speech therapy for children and young people in Barnet, etc.

Approaches and Interventions Available to Support Individuals with Specific Needs

The specifics of the discussed group determine care approaches. For example, the aging population has needs that differ from those of people with long-term conditions or limited physical capabilities. They require support and communication but not special treatment. By contrast, people with long-term conditions, including such states as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and etc., need ongoing monitoring and support due to possible attacks, stress, and sudden deterioration in their health status. Thus, each person demands individual participation and assistance.

The interventions include the following:

  • Physical intervention, which includes appropriate exercises and therapy for joint movements
  • A psychological intervention that helps to improve attitude to life
  • An educational approach that provides proper communication between individuals and healthcare workers
  • The vocational approach aims at promoting proper training that suits the level of disability to adapt to independent life.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Intervention Strategies for an Individual with Specific Need(s)

Intervention strategies are significant because they help improve a person’s condition. Physical intervention includes appropriate exercises for the joint efforts of a worker and a user of specific services to restore the lost functions and helps in maintaining the physical condition. Psychological intervention is significant for making physical intervention more fruitful and creating a positive attitude toward life. This therapy helps treat depression, suicidal tendencies, personality changes, and anxiety. Educational and professional activities help patients with special needs regain their social independence. It also encourages people to gain knowledge and accurate information about their current state.

The Potential Impact of Emerging Developments on Support for Individuals with Disorders

Technological innovations provide an excellent opportunity to make amends for the scale of social inequalities between people with special needs and the healthy members of society. They are aimed at eliminating the human capabilities deficit. Technological innovation could increase the gap between people in society without equitable access to them. They also play a core role in the early diagnosis of potentially disabling diseases, which allows early implementation of preventive measures, including diet, and receiving necessary medicines. Improved technologies facilitate physical and mental aspects of life. For example, wheelchairs and hearing aids help people to lead normal lives.

Concepts of Challenging Behaviour of People with Specific Needs

Challenging behavior can be caused by the presence of any disease and the influence of harmful social factors. The first concept is characterized by involuntary aggression and internal discomfort, typical for people with disabilities. The second one considers people with disabilities who are provoked to behave abnormally. Some children and adults with specific needs sufferings could significantly harm normal family life. It includes self-injury, aggressive, deviant, and destructive behaviors, etc., because of the inability to control the body movement, problems with hearing or vision, or nervous disorders. Challenging behavior of people with specific needs is defined as abnormal behavior with such intensity, frequency, and duration that can threaten the physical safety of other individuals or society.

The Potential Impact of Challenging Behaviour on Health and Social Care Organizations

Organizations should pay close attention to the following aspects when working with people who suffer from challenging behavior. Such people have problems with memory and coordination and are characterized by mood swings. People with disabilities are often isolated from society and cannot communicate with friends and family. Thus, employees of special services should exercise maximum understanding and patience. Organizations help not only as a source of financial or physical support but as a moral one. The need to establish personal contact with patients mostly impacts the activity of health and social care organizations.

Strategies for Working with Challenging Behaviours

The physical intervention approach is most frequently implemented when the situation becomes critical. It includes direct contact between a worker from a social service and a person, the use of such barriers and limitations to the freedom of movement as locked doors, and the application of materials or equipment that restricts or prevents movement.

However, the most preferred approach remains to plan and promote positive behavior. Individuals with specific needs learn better when encouraged and motivated to succeed, feel safe, and have moral support.

The beneficial work with children and adults suffering from challenging behaviors demands the following managing rules: to form strong leadership of the teacher; to create an individual management system; to provide staff development and support; to promote behavior strategies and the teaching of good behavior; to guarantee the use of facilities at the workplace.


The society’s cultural level is determined by its members’ willingness to help each other. People with special needs are the most vulnerable, and therefore the support of others enables them to feel fully as humans. Taking care of such people is a matter of national importance. The government should develop the necessary programs, establish healthcare institutions, and ensure professional education and training for qualified personnel. Understanding the needs of people with disorders is needed to provide them with the most effective assistance.

📎 References

1. Coulter, A, Roberts, S & Dixon, 2013, Delivering better services for people with long-term conditions, The King’s Fund, London.
2. Health Act 1999, The Stationery Office Limited under the authority and superintendence of Carol Tullo, Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and Queen’s Printer of Acts of Parliament, UK, viewed 14 April 2015, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/8/pdfs/ukpga_19990008_en.pdf
3. Managing challenging behavior 2013, Service Children’s Education, viewed 14 April 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/339074/Managing_Challenging_Behaviour_Final-U.pdf
4. Oliver, D, Foot, C & Humphries, R 2014, Making our health and care systems fit for an aging population, The King’s Fund, London.
5. Quality in the new health system 2013, Viewed 14 April 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213304/Final-NQB-report-v4-160113.pdf
6. The health and care system explained 2013, Viewed 14 April 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-and-care-system-explained/the-health-and-care-system-explained
7. Wise, PH 2012, ‘Emerging technologies and their impact on disability, The Future of Children, vol. 22, no.1, pp. 169-191