Support Individuals in their Relationships
Unit reference number:
Guided learning hours:
David Hugh Morgan
1. Understand factors affecting the capacity of individuals to develop and/or maintain relationships 1.1 Analyse reasons why individuals may find it difficult to establish or maintain relationships There are several factors that come into play here. There may be an issue with the individuals communication needs, it can be difficult to establish a relationship and maintain it if your communication needs cannot be met. I have worked in a setting where a blind Service User has cohabited with a mute Service User with Down’s syndrome. They would not be able to maintain a relationship without the support of staff to act as an intermediary. There can also be further issues with a disability, a Service User with an autism spectrum disorder may not see the necessity to establish a relationship and see no requirements to maintain one. However with care in the community and the requirement of a lot of disabled people to cohabit with others, social bonds need to be forged and maintained to keep the peace. 1.2 Describe types of legal restriction or requirement that may affect individuals’ relationships This is dependent on the form of relationship. There are a variety of differently kinds of relationships that can be formed by a Service User and a great deal of them are allowed and encouraged without restriction. However, as support staff we have to look out for abusive relationships. We also have to be aware that Service Users may form sexual relationships. Abusive relationships can take the form of bullying (physical, psychological and sexual) and can happen to disabled and non-disabled people alike. As support staff we are there to offer guidance and remain vigilant that these forms of abusive relationships do not take hold. We have a duty of care to the Service User, to make sure they are safe and well cared for. Services Users can form sexual relationships without any hindrance or interference from support staff. To prevent them forming a sexual relationship or any relationship without good cause would go against “Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)” and the Disability and the Equality Act 2010. However if we feel that there are certain issues with consent in the regard of a sexual relationship, and a certain comprehension of risk we can intervene. The Mental Capacity Act 2005, (DoLS being a part of this act) offers safeguards where a advocates can assess mental capacity and intervene in situations where a person is deemed lacking the ability to safely form certain kinds of relationships. 1.3 Explain how an individual’s capacity to establish or maintain relationships may be affected by the way support is provided Not all support staff are created equal. As support worker we endeavour to work for the Service User to give them a high standard of living and enable them to live independent lives. Unfortunately I have first hand experience of working with support workers who bring to work their own prejudice and narrow-minded views and have used these to hold back Service Users. If a Service User has the capacity to form sexual relationships, or even go to the pub and drink freely and the desire to do so, without VERY good cause we should not stand in their way. I have worked with support workers who have told Service Users that “you can’t drink your only little” (to an individual with Down’s syndrome). To support workers who have very specific religious beliefs who frown upon premarital sex, preventing Service Users seeing their partners. There are more mundane issues with support that may affect the Service User forming relationships such as communal housing. I work in a setting where three adult Service Users live together, however there aren’t always enough staff or enough staff...
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