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There are numerous barriers in every aspect of human service; they vary as much as the clients themselves. These barriers can come in many areas of human service like services, planning, funding, or empowerment. Every human service agent needs to look at each barrier as a personal challenge. This will help the agent find an application that could overcome the barriers. Three main barriers are technology, perceived differences, actual differences, and finances. There are numerous types of barriers that also can be the solution such is the case with technology.
If an agency is behind the times their equipment may be slow, not efficient, and not work properly. This can cause loss of information, irritation, or cause client frustrations. “As resource-strapped human services agencies face countercyclical demand, leaders are exploring emerging technology applications to improve efficiency and capacity. They know they must serve increasingly connected customers who expect immediate, convenient access. They recognize that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided additional resources that, if deployed strategically, can enhance modernization.
They know too that they must drive coordination and collaboration to truly integrate human services delivery. Despite these imperatives, technology decisions in human services can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get bogged down in a swirl of concerns — from financing and infrastructure to security and compliance. But in planning an IT agenda, human services agencies should specifically focus on four opportunity areas where the fish are swarming — and all else will follow” (Swaminathan, 2012).
The solution could be updating it, but this can cause other barriers like finances, maintaining equipment, parts, accessories needed to make technology work, staff training, staff rejection, resistance, human errors while learning, and the issues of incorporating new techniques. Sometimes it is just adding a small program that can increase accessibility to tools that can make an organization run smoother. Like adding a Microsoft suite package r office package that would cost a smaller amount then rewriting entire programs, but would assist with tools like excel, word, Powerpoint, or adding something like a camera and a free chat service like Skype. ”Everyone would like to do more with less. Regardless of the service an agency provides, every organization is looking for faster and more efficient ways to provide that service. In many ways, technological advancements have allowed organizations to increase productivity; however, in human service organizations, technology can impede organizational effectiveness” (Goliday, 2013).
Issues in technology can have compounded issues like causing communication problems and service issues as well. So when considering technology an agency needs to realize how much technology can be a barrier if not used correctly. Another barrier can be the infusion of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the barriers created by this can affect different aspects of both the client and the agent. It can touch services, planning, funding, and empowerment. There can be a different set of beliefs, practices, language skills, communication, and translation issues.
There also can be barriers in health beliefs, attitudes, time orientation, and concepts of achievement (Scheppersa, Dongenb, Dekkerc, Geertzend, & Dekkere, 2006). “Everyone has a basic right to health care. This is a principle that all people should share and all nations should strive for. Achieving this goal means working to break down the barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need. Sometimes those barriers have to do with resources, when people can’t afford the treatments they need. Sometime those barriers have to do with geography, for example when people live in rural areas with little access to health care providers.
And sometimes those barriers have to do simply with who people are – and that’s what we’re here to talk about today” (Sebelius, 2012). The barriers can extend into areas of respect, hand gestures, and word meaning. Some barriers that come with ethnic and culture groups are values concerning health, illness, perceptions, knowledge of physiology, knowledge of disease, religious practices, personal resources, immigration rules, income/financial means, health insurance, knowledge of services available, perception, health practices, traditional, and self-treatment (Scheppersa, Dongenb, Dekkerc, Geertzend, & Dekkere, 2006).
Any of these or any combination can cause barriers for the client and the agent. The way to work with these would be raising awareness, educating, learning, and remember that no one view is right. “The barriers are all tied to the particular situation of the individual patient and subject to constant adjustment. In other words, generalizations should not be made” (Scheppersa, Dongenb, Dekkerc, Geertzend, & Dekkere, 2006, Pp. 325-348). These barriers can cause all sorts of new barriers like emotional distancing, client may become removed, depression, fear, communication may break down, and loss of empowerment.
This leads to barriers of perceived differences and orientations. Overcoming perceptions can be a huge barrier to health services. An agent’s own beliefs and opinions kind of need to take a backseat to the needs of his or her client. This can sometimes be harder than almost any other barrier because an individual always wants to share his or her opinions. An agent needs to set aside beliefs on age, sexual preference, mental status, criminal activity, and sometimes their opinion on almost every topic, view, opinion, and stereotype because to help a client those personal barriers cannot exist.
Another barrier is finances with the economy and all the budget cuts, it makes an agent’s job all the harder. They have to struggle with service cuts and older equipment to help their clients and their clients suffer because of the lack of funds. Agents need to use the tools they have available to find the things he or she needs like using the Internet to find resources or free tools to help out his or her clients and agency.
Barriers can overwhelm a person completely and block his or her way, but agents need to remember the struggle is for the people he or she is helping. Some barriers affect small areas and some large. There are barriers that the solution itself creates other barriers. As an agent faces these personal challenges, he or she needs to focus on the needs of his or her clients. As they struggle over each barrier, they need to know that one barrier can lead to another, but there are solutions available they just need to be found.