The function of research in Health and social Care
The function of research in Health and social Care
Research can be defined as a process of collecting information about a specific topic for a purpose. The importance of research in Health and Social Care is very high. Research can take days, months or even years. Its aim is not only to identify in depth information but as well to find out the amount of information that is already known. Through research we can have a better understanding of what are the service user`s needs and find ways of improving the service towards them. The data collected for research must be up to date and frequently evaluated. This would help making an accurate comparison to other pieces of information found. Even though the main purpose for research is to find out information there are other key aspects for it such as: identifying needs, planning provisions, highlighting gaps in provision, extending knowledge and understanding, informing policy/practice, improving practice, allowing progression to be monitored, aiding reflection and examining topics of contemporary importance. One of the key aspects of research is to identify needs. This means that any information gathered for the research would help into indentifying the needs of an individual. For instance when a new patient is admitted to a hospital, a historical background about the past and current physical condition would help the professional in further investigation.
The professional would then be able to take decisions about the type of treatment or care the patient needs in order to meet his needs. In addition, there are a lot of charities and companies doing research to identify people`s needs for certain diseases or types of treatment. For instance Diabetes UK is an organisation that spent over 6 million pounds (in 2009) on researching type 2 Diabetes. In fact medical charities in the UK, have invested over 935 million in researching cancer, heart disease and arthritis (2008-2009). This information was provided by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), 2009. The provision of services is very expensive in health and social care. Before an actual service can be up and running, it needs to undergo vigorous research. New services can take years to be implemented and cost a lot of money, therefore the decision of investing public money in to it must be justified. The decision can be either favourable or negative depending whether the information gathered throughout the research is accurate, reliable and recent. The actual research might be done by authorities or commission/requested others to carry it out (Universities or organisations).
These organisations would receive funding to support the research. One of the main purposes of research is to have a better understanding and knowledge about different topics. Due to the fact that we live in a world whereby everything is changing constantly and new things are being discovered, research must be done in order to understand and learn about past and present trends. According to The World Health Organisation the current death toll due to smoking is currently 6 million (this includes as well passive smokers).They believe that the number of deaths as a result of tobacco use will ride to 7 million by 2020 and 8million by 2030. By the end of the 21st century it is predicted that smoking will have killed 1 billion people. Although this is just a prediction and does not necessarily mean it will happen, this research could help the prevention of further deaths by improving anti-smoking campaigns and helping people quit their smoking habits. Research and knowledge can encourage others to set up their own research in order to learn better ways of tacking different issues. As previously mentioned, the trends in nowadays society are constantly changing. The health and social care sector is constantly changing and adapting to new trends.
This is why it is crucial to avoid gaps in the provision. The government and local authorities are constantly researching whether the health and social care sector offers appropriate services that meet the needs of their clients, in order to avoid gaps. Since the number of elderly people is increasing in the UK as people live longer, a great deal of an attention is being given on how to provide good service towards them in order to meet their needs efficiently and effectively. Other examples where gaps in provision have been highlighted was represented by the prediction of swine flu and maternity care. In order to validate research and improve policy and practice the government has set up a major review of the NHS known as the Darzi Review. The Darzi Review aims to identify the priorities for health and social care sector in the next decade. One of the policies that have been improved through research was represented by the promotion of domiciliary care. The research showed that elderly people tend to live longer in their own homes rather than if they were living in a reside ntial home.
Practice would improve if: carers would find better ways of working as a team and modify their routines, the care sector would reorganise their layout, offer more choices and develop a better bond with their clients and visitors and offer more independence. For instance, if changes are being made in a residential home the staff must be able adapt to them. This may mean that the residential home has a new autonomy policy whereby service users are encouraged to be more independent, and staff should not intervene in helping them if the service users prefer to do their daily routines on their own (while capable to do so). In order to monitor progress, it is essential to research whether everything is working according to plan. In order to monitor and analyse the progress research is needed to investigate different aspects and find information and data about the past and current situation. For instance questionnaires would help investigate the views of individuals using a new service. Qualitative data such as the number of individual using the service could help determine whether the services are successful.
If the quantitative data shows an increased amount of people using a specific service then this means progress has been made, and the next step would imply expanding the service. Other aspect that would help monitor the progress of services can be done through interviews and questionnaires with staff or reviewing any possible gaps in the service. This would be followed by the development of an action plan in case problems are being discovered. Research is a powerful tool that can generate data on which to reflect. Reflection is done more accurately through research as the sources are more likely to be reliable as appose to obtaining casual data. Nowadays any issue that comes up in health and social care is being debated locally or at a national level by public and health professionals.
Before the actual debate takes place or any possible changes, researcher must explore the extent of the problem and find out what possible benefits could a change bring to individuals in the society. Here are some examples of possible issues that might affect individuals: the possibility of a global flu epidemic, concerns about global warming and climate-I remember this issue has been raised up for quite a few years now, and media is continuously raising concerns about the possible impact of global warming on population, vegetation and animal life, whether genetically modified crops have a negative impact on people and the environment etc.
M1: Discuss the function of research in a chosen are of interest ”Hospital admissions for eating disorders rose by 16% in England from 2011 to 2012, official figures show.” – (BBC online news, 11 October 2012) According to www.bbc.co.uk, the number of patients admitted to hospital with eating disorder was 16% higher in 2012 than in 2011. This however does not show the exact number of individuals suffering from eating disorders. The website stated that this is just the ”tip of the iceberg” and that there are many more other cases, that can’t be tracked down due to patients not turning to the health system for help. This proves, however that the numbers of people suffering from eating disorders is rising. This means that there is a gap in provision. There are many people suffering of eating disorders that do not seek help from professionals. Unfortunately even if there are available services out there to help people suffering from eating disorders, individuals still don`t make full use of the service.
This must be due to the fact that the individuals feel embarrassed of their condition or do now wish to accept the fact that they have an eating disorder. These type of issues triggered researched to find more in depth information about Eating Disorders and started to planning provision of services to help people suffering from eating disorders. One organisation that is researching onto eating disorders is called Beat. Beat organises different sort of events such as Eating Disorder Awareness weeks, gathers money from donation, and fundraising. The money they raise helps them run vital support services helping people with eating disorders and their families. On their website there is a multitude of information about eating disorders, treatments, fact and figures, publication, media guidelines, case studies etc.
There are a variety of reasons as to why teenagers especially develop eating disorders: from a hectic lifestyle, to lack/excess of nutrition, the influence of media, peer pressure, depression, bullying etc. Media, in particular, has the ability to influence people and everything they do, especially because the information can quickly spread from one source to another. For instance, Health Campaigns could get through easily if promoted by media. On the same side, media can influence us negatively by advertising unhealthy foods, and this may lead to confusion. The audience may then, make have a deformed idea on what their needs are and thus make unhealthy choices.
Research and knowledge can encourage others to set up their own research in order to learn better ways of tacking different issues. For instance, the lack of constant and updated research in the health and social care sector would lead to a lack of efficiency on how to tackle/deal with people suffering of eating disorders. According to BBC, the number of people suffering of eating disorders in England has rose in 2012 by 16% as appose to the previous year. Preliminary data from HSCIC (Health and Social Information Centre) has shown an increased number of people admitted in hospital due to eating disorders. There were 2,290 admissions in 2011-2012. The data provided by HSCIC was confidential and has not violated The Human Rights Act 1998. This type of research can provide us not only with statistical data, but as well give us an insight on how big the problems related to eating disorders really are. . For instance in the past there was little knowledge about Eating Disorders and people were not aware of its implications. Through research people learnt more about Eating Disorders and try finding new ways of treatment for it. This also means that the more people learn about it the more people will be willing to get treatment or try and help those in need of treatment.
As far as policy and practice is concerned, the government should prioritize the problem of Eating Disorders. The alarming numbers of people suffering from Eating Disorders is on the rise and the government is not acting against it. They should implement a policy for the promotion of healthy eating. With proper planning and research the current situation in regards to people suffering from eating disorders might change in a positive way. Further research would as well improve the practice and the future services provided into helping people suffering from eating disorders. For instance there should be a better bond/communication between patients and doctors (this way patients are more prone to opening how they feel physically and emotionally about their eating disorder), the health and social care sector should expand choices of care and treatment for this disease (some patients might not want to be hospitalised, they should offer the choice of home care etc). The progress to fighting eating disorders should be monitored and analysed closely. It is essential to research whether everything is working according to plan.
Again, research is needed to investigate different aspects and find information and data about the past and current situation of eating disorders. For instance questionnaires would give an insight on people`s opinions in regards to eating disorder. Qualitative data such as the number of individual using the service could help determine whether the services are successful. In a previous example I was specifying that the number of admissions for patients suffering of eating disorders has risen 16% in 2011-2012. The quantitative data showed an increased amount of people suffering from Eating Disorders, and thus an increased number of people getting admitted into hospital.
The next step would imply expanding the service. Other aspect that would help monitor the progress of Health Services related to Eating Disorders can be done through interviews and questionnaires with staff or reviewing any possible gaps in the service. This would be followed by the development of an action plan in case problems are being discovered. For instance a major problem would be if the hospital would not be able to admit patients suffering from eating disorders due to low numbers of beds. After all the data and information has been gathered for the research, one important aspect in to reflect onto the findings. If the data and information obtained during the research is accurate and reliable this would help with the analysis of the current situation, and predict future issues.
1. Stretch, B. et al, . 2010. BTEC Level 3 National Health and Social Care: Book 1. , Essex, Pearsons
Websites, articles, newspapers, articles and literature reviews (http://www.b-eat.co.uk/
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