Sociological Perpestives in Health and Social Care

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In this assignment I am going to write a report explaining the patterns and trends of health and illness in three social groups: gender, ethnicity and social class. I am also going to explain the pattern and trends of health and illness which looks at measurement of health, morbidity rates, mortality rates, disease incidence, disease prevalence and health surveillance. Measurements of health

Health is generally measured in negative terms, such as the level of disease and the number of deaths within a population, rather than by analysis of positive indicators, such as the presence of health. Epidemiology is the study of disease origins or cause and how much information about the number of people within a population. Epidemiological data provides valuable information about the number of people a population that are affected by ill health, who die as a result of particular health problems and which groups of individuals are most at risk of developing and dying from particular types of illness or disease. This information is used to identify and plan appropriate health and social care services as well as health-promotion activities. The most commonly used indicators are morbidity (presence of illness or disease) and mortality (death). (Eleanor Landridge, 2007) Morbidity rates

Morbidity is difficult to measure as the information is gathered from a range of different sources. Data is collected by the government as well as the NHS and local authority social services departments through direct surveys of the population such as specific health surveys, and as a result of administrative processes, for example, when an individual visits a GP or A&E department or has an assessment of needs. Some diseases are required to be reported, for example cancers and infectious diseases and so data is collected via this process. The problem with this information is that to some extent it reflects services that are available rather than the true picture of disease incidence. Individuals have to also express their needs through actively seeking medical or social care services. (Eleanor Landridge, 2007) The general household survey is a continuous government population survey this includes questions about peoples experience of illness both acute and chronic within the two weeks prior to the person completing the survey. The individual GHS 2002 interview includes questions regarding health and the use of health services; this provides information about the individual’s view of their health. The measurement of working days lost due to sickness can also provide a measure of morbidity for those who are in paid employment. As a measure, it is limited as it only relates to paid employment and this excludes many women who are at home caring for children or older people as well as those who are retired and unable to work through disability. (Eleanor Landridge, 2007) Mortality rates

The Office for national statistics is responsible for collecting and analysing data collected from a range of sources including the ten year national population census, the GHS and specific health information gathered through, for example, deaths and disease incidence reporting undertaken by GP’s and strategic health authorities. Mortality rates can be compared internationally because most countries hold similar information. Mortality rate are expressed in several different ways. A basis measurement is to express mortality as a number of deaths per 100 per year. However this does not allow the diversity of age within the population which varies over time and between geographical areas. For example, mortality rates in the south-east of England will appear high as there are a high percentage of older people living there. The standardised mortality ration (SMR) is the method used to compare mortality levels across different years or for different sub-populations within the same year. The SMR is useful because it can be used to identify and for comparisons. Infant...
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