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PART ONE

Introduction

Social care can be defined as the practice or profession where individuals with special needs are given attention and care. Social care can also be defined as the practice where people work together with those individuals who have special needs or are disadvantaged. For example, caring for people who suffer from HIV/AIDS or are refugees is an example of social work. Social health care may be defined as the practice of working with the marginalized communities in order to ensure they have proper medical care. Proper medical care includes activities that are geared towards creating a healthy and safe environment for the disadvantaged people. In the broader understanding, social care may be defined as the provision of support, care, advocacy, and welfare to vulnerable communities, marginalized communities, and people with special needs.

In administering social health care to people, a social worker should be in aposition to understand the scope of social health care. They should be well equipped with knowledge about social care as well as ethical issues in health care. Not every individual can be a social worker. Social care is an academic discipline, and for one to be a social worker, they must have some qualifications. These qualifications and characteristics distinguish social workers from other types of workers. The personal qualities of a social care practitioner include but not limited to academic qualifications, teamwork, reliabilityand trustworthiness, compassion and ability to work independently.

A social health care practitioner should have sound and extensive academic knowledge in their field. They should also be reliable people who can work independently without supervision. Also, social health care practitioners should be compassionate enough in order to understand the circumstancesand needs of the vulnerable people.

Construction and meaning of care

Care is multidimensional and multifaceted. This multidimensional perspective of care often makes it difficult to understand. There is no absolute definition of care since the magnitude of care varies from place to place. It is apparent, however, that in its simplest typeit isthe stateof liking orhaving a strong desire for something. Some medical practitioners define care as the state of the mind where an individual is fond of something (COWARD, H. G., & PHINIT RATTANAKUN. 1999 pg 45).

Construction and meaning of care can be defined as the composition and definition of care. In social care dimension, construction and meaning of care include various compositions and definitions of health care. Construction of social care may be described as the underlying reasons why social care can be initiated, in the first place. Construction of social care can also be described as the various compositions and dimensions of social care. The main reason why social care is initiated is because of humanitarian causes. We are living in a world of uncertainties and full of calamities. Normally, when disasters happen, individuals are left in a vulnerable situation which results in humanitarian issues. Most social workers operatein areas witha certainhumanitarian condition,e.g., refugee camps.

Many natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and drought leave civilians in a vulnerable situation. Such civilians cannot have access to basic human needs like food, clothing, and shelter. They lack access to proper medical care, since the natural disaster often destroys available health facilities. Moreover, natural disasters lead to overcrowding, which creates pressure on theavailable resources. This eventually creates a humanitarian crisis within the region, hence the need for social care. Health epidemics may also create a humanitarian crisis that will require the services of social workers. For example, the HIV and AIDS epidemic has left many children vulnerable and without parents. This is a humanitarian situation that requires the services of social care workers. The social care workers will aid in providing better health conditions and other appropriate services to the vulnerable groups. In addition, some human activities, like wars, may give rise to humanitarian conditionsrequiringthe services of social care workers.

From the above analysis, it is evident that the main idea and reason as to why social care exists is to address the humanitarian conditions. The humanitarian condition is typically caused by natural or human factors (BOWLES, W. 2007 pg 64).

Various researchesindicate that developing countries are the main affected areasin terms of humanitarian conditions, hence most of social care is mainly targeted at the developing countries. This is evident by the number of humanitarian organizations working in the developing countries, e.g., Feed the Children, Red Cross, UNDP, UNICEF, USAID, and AMREF.

 These organizations provide social care tomost developing countries. Also, research has shown that most humanitarian conditions in developing countries are caused by wars and HIV/AIDS pandemics. These two main factors are the major contributors to humanitarian problemsin developing countries. For example, a war has led to a humanitarian disasterin some African countries, like Somali and Ivory Coast. Also, in most African countries, the HIV and AIDS epidemic has left many children without parents. These vulnerable children also face the problem of stigmatizing among other family members.

The following table indicates the various causes of humanitarian conditions
in developed and developing countries

Cause

Developed Countries

Developing Countries

Wars and Tribal Clashes

5%

50%

HIV and AIDS

7%

30%

Natural Calamities

88”

20”

Total

100%

100%

Types of Social Care

Social care encompasses a wide range of activities. There exist various types of social care offered by various organizations and individuals. In some countries, the government institutions also offer social care to vulnerable groups of population. The basic types of social care available include but not limited to medical and public health social work, family, child and school social work, substance abuse social work, mental social care, and humanitarian social work.

Ethics and Ethical Practice

Ethics and ethical practice can be defined as the application of various socially acceptable values and norms in social care. Every discipline has set down rules and guidelines that must be followed in order to achieve better results. Ethics and ethical issues in social care involve those activities that will ensure that social care is delivered at the highest standard of professionalism.

Ethics in social care arealso geared towards ensuring standard care for vulnerable groups. For example, it is unethical for a social care worker to mistreat and mishandle patients, as well as vulnerable groups. On the other hand, it is ethical for a social worker to treat patients and vulnerable groups with utmost care. There are various ethical issues associated with social care, which include but not limited to the following:

Respect

A social care worker is supposed to respect and uphold other people dignity at all times. The social care worker should respect the varied cultural practices and religious beliefs of the people they are dealing with. Respect also encompasses respecting junior patients or other individuals they are providing social care for.

Faith

Faith can be described as believing in invisible things. A social worker should have full confidence and faith inthe client’s efforts in achieving their goals. Social workers should not underestimate their clients. They should instead help them achieve their goals. Every social care is associated with goals and objectives and it is the duty of asocial care worker to help the clients achieve their own goals and objectives. For example, a social worker should have confidence in a mentally disturbed client whose goal is to become an engineer. It is unethical for a social care worker to underestimate such a client. The social worker should encourage and support the client towards achieving their goals and objectives.

Discrimination

Discrimination can be described as the process of sidelining individuals on the basis of colour, race, family background, religious background, and education level, economic and social status.  A social worker should be able to base their interaction and relationships with clients as individuals. A good social care worker is someone who works and cares for individuals without discrimination. Instead, social workers must be willing to work with anybody and anywhere in the world. It is unethical for a social worker to discriminate against a client on various grounds.Such a practice is unethical and unacceptable within social care practice.

Opportunity

Opportunity can be described as the process of giving an individual a chance to practice, express, or become who they want to be. A social care worker’s main duty is to help the vulnerable groups become and achieve what they want to be in life. Such a profession requires a patient to show understanding and appreciation ofhelp by others. A good social worker should also give other individuals an opportunity to become who they want to be. A social care worker should recognize that the most precious gift they can give to clients is achance to turn into who they want to be on their own. Such opportunities will enable the clients to develop their potential and appreciate the assistance being offered by the social care worker (SUSSEX, F., & SCOURFIELD, P. 2004 pg 67).

Social workers deal with data about their clients. Some of thesedata are confidential and solely meant for a particular purpose. A social worker should ensure that the Data Protection Act is followed and no data about a client are disclosed, except for the purposes of protecting the client. Also, social workers should not invade the client’s private and personal matters without the client’s consent. Such an invasion is considered a crime and can lead to legal proceedings. A social worker should hold the client’s information confidential and that information should only be used for the intended purpose. For example, a social worker dealing with HIV and AIDS clients should hold the HIV status for the clients confidential, and that information should only be keptfor the reasons of providing care to the affected clients. It is unethical for such a social care worker to disclose the information to a third party, say a company doing a survey on the number of HIV-infected people in the country.

Biasand Judgment

Another ethical issue in social care is bias in making judgments. Like any other profession, judgement is an integral part of social care. A social workershould undertake their duties without any bias and favouritism. Social care workers should pass sound judgment and ensure that justice is upheld in any case being solved. They should not in any sense provide a judgment without understanding the client wholly, as well asthe circumstances that led them to acting in sucha manner. Social care workers should put themselves in the client’s shoes and ask themselves how they could have reacted if they were in the same situation.

Self-control

Another ethical issue in social care provision is the issue of self-control. Social care workers are supposed to practice it so as to avoid the influence of self-interest in their profession. Self-control is a wider aspect that encompasses areas of self-denial, respect, and patience. A social worker should put their self-interest aside and concentrate on providing care to the targetgroups. Also, a social worker should not have bad attitudes and prejudices because they will affect the relationship with the client (TAVANI, H. T. 2011 pg 78).  Asocial worker should also try to seek understanding before executing any plan of action. Understanding will enable asocial care worker to understand the varied needs and interests of the clients. 

PART II

Introduction

The social care practice is a wider area and requires an individual to be well equipped with the ethical issues related tosocial care. It also requires an individual understanding of the meaning and scope of social work. The understanding of the two areas will enablea social care worker to professionally undertake their duties and responsibilities.

As a social care student, I have had an opportunity of studying the dimensions, scope and ethical issues related with social care. I have also had a chance to practice social care with some humanitarian organizations in the African region during my placements.

Construction and meaning of care

Throughout my academic experience, I have learned that social care accords special attention to patients and marginalized groups. I haveunderstood care as being majorly composed of the service-orientedactivities in the sense that social care entails services to clients. I have also had a narrow view of social care as a major concern for humanitarian organizations, and not a state responsibility.

During my placement in the Horn of Africa, in Somali, I learnt various social care issues that I did not know. It was that the time when I came to realize the meaning and the scope of social work. Our main task was to help the refugees in Daadab camp resettle, access education, medical services, as well as other basic needs, like water, food, and shelter.

Most people in this area are displaced refugees from Somali who fled because of internal wars. Statistics show that Daadab refugee camp in Kenya houses approximately 500,000 refugees from Somali. This figure is three times higher thanthe maximum number of refugees the camp can accommodate.

The following table indicates the number of refugees in Daadab since

TYPE OF POPULATION

ORIGIN

JAN 2012

DEC 2012 - JAN 2013

DEC 2013

TOTAL IN COUNTRY

OF WHOM ASSISTED
BY UNHCR

TOTAL IN COUNTRY

OF WHOM ASSISTED
BY UNHCR

TOTAL IN COUNTRY

OF WHOM ASSISTED
BY UNHCR

Total

 

839,600

619,600

975,800

735,800

1,112,000

862,000

Refugees

Ethiopia

20,980

20,980

14,300

14,300

6,500

6,500

Somalia

479,000

479,000

623,100

623,100

769,100

769,100

Sudan

27,500

27,500

33,000

33,000

39,000

39,000

Various

9,090

9,090

14,550

14,550

13,000

13,000

Asylum-seekers

DRC

6,530

6,530

5,050

5,050

3,520

3,520

Ethiopia

13,500

13,500

15,000

15,000

12,500

12,500

Sudan

7,520

7,520

5,300

5,300

4,200

4,200

Various

4,880

4,880

4,700

4,700

4,180

4,180

Returnees (refugees)

Kenya

600

600

800

800

--

--

IDPs

Kenya

250,000

30,000

230,000

10,000

230,000

10,000

Returnees (IDPs)

Kenya

--

20,000

--

10,000

--

--

Stateless

Stateless

20,000

--

30,000

--

30,000

 

 

During my placement at Daadab refugee camp, I learnt that social care was not only limited to providing care services like distribution of relief food, but also includedother aspects of guidance and counselling, e.g., spiritual encouragement (POST, S. G. 2000 pg 56).

Most of the refugees were suffering from their displacement. Some had lost loved ones, others had lost their property, and it was so difficult for them to come to terms with the aftermath of their displacements. Such refugees needed special attention from psychotherapists,as well as a spiritual encouragement so that they couldhave hope and faith in life despite the tragedy that had befallen them. It is at this point that I realized social care also encompassedareas of psychotherapy, guidance, and counselling.

Ethics and ethical issues

During my placement as a social care worker, I found the applications of ethics in my practice quite challenging. Social care work is quite a daunting task, especially when dealing with a large group of people who have varied interests and concerns. It requires an individual to understand the motive of the client and apply the various ethical issues in determining the plan of action. I learnt that the key secret tohaving a successive career as a social worker is to be patient, compassionate,and enduring. A social care worker should be patient and confront any situations, no matter what happens.

For example, during my placement as a social care worker, our duty was to distribute relief food to various refugees in Daadab camp. Such a practice required a social worker to be patient and carry on throughthe hard task by ensuring that almost every refugee hadsomething small to take home. It was a daunting task because of the greed of many refugees. Most of them wanted tohave a double share and they could repeat queuing for several times. Controlling such a hungry and starving crowd required that we be patient, understand their situation, at the same time ensuring equity and fairness in the distribution of the relief food (COREY, G., COREY, M. S., & CALLANAN, P. 2011 pg 67).

In addition, during my placement, I came to learn how important keeping the data about clients is. Data integrity is crucialin the practice of social care work. I learnt how various humanitarian organizationsrely on the data on refugees to get funding and make decisions of care allocation. If such data aretampered with or entered incorrectly, then awhole social care programmewill face problems in both funding and decision-making. My placement as a social worker at Daadab refugee camp in Kenyalargely helped me understand the nature and scope of social work. My placement also helped me understand how the various ethical issues couldbe applied in the practice of social care.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that social care is a multifaceted field which includes all activities that are geared towards providing care to marginalized and vulnerable groups. A good social care worker applies various ethics in social care practice (COREY, G., COREY, M. S., & CALLANAN, P. 2011 pg 88). A social care worker puts their self-interests aside and is mainly concerned with providing care to vulnerable and marginalized groups. 

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