All in it together? Let’s hope so. Various professionals from differing specialisms can be involved in providing assistance for young persons or adults in need. In practice, members of each specialist discipline will tend to have specific responsibilities, with a focus on addressing and alleviating identified concerns. In the course of making their important contributions, they will be meeting the persons being supported along with their carers. It is crucial that they listen thoughtfully to their views and, in turn, keep them well informed.
If encountered, caregivers should strive to open up restrictive bottlenecks. Frequently, obstructive pyramids of power need to be inverted.
Fragmentation of roles easily lead to overlap and confusion regarding the provision of care. At its worst, this results in becoming a case of “passing the buck” across agencies. Protocols are not always clearly explained to carers. At times, it seems questionable as to whether they actually exist!
Additionally, when procedures become rigid or uncompromising, they run the risk of underestimating or missing a person’s intricate requisites. In all aspects of decision-making, due consideration must be given to accurate fact-finding, privacy and the right of access to information.
Collaborative approaches. If multiple services are involved, attention is called for with regard to: (1) the number of professionals engaged; (2) the timing and frequency of visits and consultations; (3) the effectiveness of arrangements for sharing and feeding back to all relevant parties; and (4) an on-going evaluation of the work which has been undertaken. Instead of permitting or turning a blind eye to the entrenchment of poor social welfare provision, there should be an emphasis on the well-organised mobilisation of human and material resources. A paternalistic and blinkered culture has to be replaced by more responsive and inclusive attitudes. An integrated and compassionate delivery of support will provide greater efficiency while reducing unnecessary costs.
Making it personal. Like everyone else, those for whom we care have their own distinctive and, on occasions, complex necessities. It follows, as indicated already, that interventions or proposed solutions should not emerge from bureaucratic or inflexible practices. A partaker should not be offered courses of action simply out of expediency or convenience on the part of an agency. Planned outcomes require be of recognisable value to vulnerable groups. They must be chosen to match an individual’s needs – not on the individual’s needs being pigeon-holed into an existing system. It is the duty of everyone involved to ensure that persons along with their caregivers genuinely contribute to and take part in mapping and implementing pathways towards progress.
Summary: A central principle of all support services must be one which has personalised health and wellbeing as a core objective. Within this overall process, the stance should not be that of undertaking professional inputs separately from the others who are meant to benefit. Rather positive collaboration involving every contributor and participant is essential.