How Could Use of the Concept of ‘Critical Practice’ Help to Avoid the Creation of Unnecessary Dependency in Older People Who Are Users of Health and Social Care Services?

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In order to try and answer this question I will firstly explain what ‘critical practice’ is in some detail. I will describe what theories and ideology are, as these are both very relevant to this essay. I will talk about various users in the health and social care system, but will mostly concentrate on older people, so this will then enable me to answer the question correctly. From reading the course material and doing the online work I found there was definitely a lot involved in becoming a critical practitioner. Lots of work needs to be done, starting with basic ground work, and building right up. It involves not just the one professional, but all professionals involved, and it needs for everyone to work together, as part of a team to ensure things run smoothly. (Kolb, 1995; Tsang, 1998) tells us that if each professional understands and completes their own job, this then leads to a satisfactory outcome and full professional practice .

What is critical practice in Health and Social Care? Professionals from all backgrounds, from within the health and social care system are able to explore the development, and application of critical practice. This means, that they encourage engagement in theoretical, critical and methodological debates and practices. It evaluates the present role of theory, and develops the necessary skills needed for treatment and care. Glaister (2008) tells us that critical practice is a practice that takes all variables into account, regardless of whatever particular demands that current situation requires. It allows flexibility and discretion, and is a very reflective and open-minded approach. Health and social care is being increasingly challenged to respond to the needs of not only diverse communities and people, but also many different types of illnesses and ailments. Critical Practice is being used more and more nowadays to enable medicine and treatments to keep on moving forward. Each time there has to be a good base set to begin with. This will always begin with forging a relationship, be that with a colleague, or with that, of the client/patient. How this is setup will define the beginning of that particular relationship. They are many types of relationships and one type of relationship would be a constructive relationship. Forging relationships is the first pillar of critical practice (K217, a)

Constructive relationships sometimes need to be further developed due to the diverse and challenging clients, and/or colleagues, or other parties who will be involved in the treatment and care for the client. Once a relationship has been forged, other factors such as being able mediate and being able to communicate effectively are very important factors. The professional must have a good sense of themselves and this in turn will enable them to deal with any given situation. (K217, b) (Rogers, 1951) believes, that by acknowledging and accepting another parties viewpoint, whilst not allowing your own beliefs and feelings to be upset, that this is a great foundation for critical practice. This allows full openness without defensiveness or disempowerment, which in turn, allows each individual to be themselves, and do what needs to be done without being judged or criticised .

The concept of empowerment is the second pillar of critical practice. Concepts such as discrimination, oppression and equal opportunities over the years have shaped the structure of health and social care system as we now know it (K217, c) There is now a recognition, that someone who is either less powerful, or a member of a minority group, can become oppressed and feels less disadvantaged to those who are not. What practitioners have learned is that they need to understand the oppressive forces, and need to reconstruct the power imbalance that has been left (Pinkney, 1999). Successful caring processes must be both empowering and anti-oppressive.

The third suggested pillar of critical practice is ‘making a...
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