Partnership Working in Health and Social Care Sector
Introduction to Partnership Working
Partnership working is concerned with the development of relationships which are inclusive, mutually beneficial and which aim at improving the quality as well as experience of care (Working in partnership, 2013). This approach consists of relationships between individuals suffering from long term conditions, the service providers and carers. At a broader level, partnership working also concerns with the relationships which exist within and between organizations which are involved in planning and delivering of health care in various sectors (Adams, 2007). The present report is on understanding the importance of working positively in partnership with other people in health and social care sector. Partnership philosophies have been analyzed along with the understanding of relationships in health and social care services. An attempt has been made to understand the ways in which positive partnership working can be promoted. Lastly, the outcomes of partnership working for professionals, patients, and organizations have been evaluated.
a) Using own Experience as an Example
i) Explaining Philosophy of Working in Partnership in Health and Social Care
From my working experience in Wellington Hospital, I have gained knowledge about various partnership philosophies. The following philosophies have been adopted at the care home:
This is regarded as an approach that involves making the service users in charge of managing their condition. It is providing authority to the service users for taking correct decisions regarding their health (Leathard and McLaren, 2007). For example, this philosophy can be applied with the children who suffer from learning disability. They can be taught to address some of the issues that they face in daily life. Therefore, this approach provides the advantage of empowering such service users and making them capable of supporting themselves.
This philosophy is concerned with the way in which a service user in seen and represented. According to this philosophy, the service users should be provided respect. At Wellington hospital, the patients with complex conditions, disabled service users as well as elderly people are treated with respect and dignity (The Wellington Hospital, 2015).
The philosophy of independence is concerned with being capable of choosing your lifestyle and accessing the required support that is needed for living the chosen lifestyle (Person centered support, 2010). Therefore, it is about maximization of choices, opportunities and development. However, this philosophy does require the health care staff to provide support to the service users for meeting their needs. At wellington hospital, this philosophy is adopted by improving the skills and abilities of the service users and making them independent.
The philosophical approach of power sharing is also adopted by Wellington hospital. Treatment, care and support is provided by the doctors, nurses, care workers by working in partnership. When they work in collaboration, they are able to address the diverse needs of service users in a comprehensive manner. In this approach, power is redistributed among the members of health care team through joint planning. There is also sharing of decision making responsibilities (Miller, 2011). Power sharing approach proves to be beneficial for the hospital as it helps in enhancing the knowledge and awareness of each partner. It also leads to a shared understanding of responsibilities.
Autonomy is the provision of right to make informed choices regarding the type of care and treatment. This philosophical approach provides right to the health care professionals to inform the patient. However, the service providers can not take decisions for the service users (Glasby and Dickinson, 2008). For example, at wellington hospital, the workers provide information to the patients in an understandable way. This information is free from any type of jargon. Further, the workers never make any type of assumptions about preferences and choice of service users.
Making Informed Choices
The philosophical approach of making informed choices is also adopted at Wellington hospital. The service users are provided completed information about their condition and treatment options. They are thus allowed to make informed choices.
ii) Linking with Others for Developing Joint Service Provision
Wellington hospital has linked with others for developing joint service provision and for meeting the needs of service users. The hospital caters to the needs of children, elderly, young people in care, disabled persons, people with learning disability, mental health, refugees, asylum seekers etc. the hospital works with others to met the needs of these service users. For example, a number of young people suffering from learning disabilities are service users off hospital. They are provided the required care and treatment. However, in order to provide enhanced services, the hospital works jointly with various therapists (Reeves and et.al., 2011). In this way, improved care is provided to the children with learning disabilities along with effective treatment. The hospital also develops links with educationalists. This helps in joint service provision where the education related needs of such children are met.
Another example of joint service provision is related to asylum seekers. These are patients who suffer from issues of mental health. Majority of these are elderly patients who have been left by their families. Wellington hospital works jointly with social and support workers so that care can be provided to such patients. Treatment is provided to these patients at the hospital while their other needs are addressed by social workers (McKeown, Malihi-Shoja and Downe, 2011). The hospital also has links with various charitable organizations. These take the responsibility of providing care and support to the elderly people after they have been given treatment at the hospital.
The hospital develops joint service provision with therapists for addressing the needs of other service users. For example, people with certain types of disabilities are also users of services provided by Wellington hospital. The disability may be related to speech, auditory, visual etc. (White, 2009). Speech and other types of therapists are linked with the hospital who help in providing joint services.
b) Evaluation of relationships with the following:
- With users of services- As a manager, various approaches can be used by me for evaluating relations with service users. For example, I can inquire the young service users about the level to which they can depend on the carers, nurse and doctors. They can also be asked about the extent to which they they trust the providers of service at the hospital (Towill, 2009).
- With external professional individuals- Evaluation of partnership relationships with the external professionals can be done by organizing meetings with them. At thee meetings, the professionals can be asked about the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships with the hospital. They can also be asked abut the issues they face during working in partnership with Wellington hospital (Kelly and Jones, 2013). At the same time, another meeting can be organized with the professionals of the hospital. This will help in assessing the relationships with external professionals.
- With other organizations- The relationships with other organizations such as charitable units, social groups etc. can be evaluated. This can be done by making those organizations fill a questionnaire (Liu, 2012). This will help in investigating the status of their relationships with Wellington hospital. Furthermore, a formal meeting can be held for finding out the present condition of relationships.
a) Analyzing models of partnership given below
i) Multi Area Agreement (MAA)
This is regarded as a framework with the help of which there can be enhancement of cross boundary partnership working. There are two levels in this type of agreements. They are regional and sub – regional levels. There are various principles which form the basis of multi level agreement. According to these principles, the agreement is required to be voluntary. Primarily, it should be associated with economic development. The local authority partners and public sector bodies share the responsibility for outcomes in a collective manner (Woerkum and Aarts, 2008). These are in conformity with the regional and local strategies. Multi level agreement builds upon the existing sub-regional partnerships. In this way, it is concerned with the worming of multi agencies. This model is underpinned by governance structures which are firm. Such a model can be adopted in health care sector. For example, involvement of the stakeholders I considered important by this model. Therefore in hospital, plans for partnership working can be designed by involving the patients and their family members. Further, it can be evaluated that MAA model provides assistance when a long term strategy is to be designed for addressing shared problems. In a health care organization such as Wellington Hospital, there are shared problems which are to be addressed. These involve multiple illnesses and conditions of the patients. Hence, it can be said that multi level agreement will provide assistance in fulfilling this purpose of the hospital. This approach not based solely on partnership (Lu and et.al., 2010). Rather, it represents a consensus among the partners.
ii) Local Area Agreement (LAA)
LAA is a three year agreement in UK which is formed between an organization in the local area and central government. This agreement takes place through local strategic partnership. There are a definite set of improvement targets which form the basis of this type of agreements. Commitment towards attaining these targets is demonstrated by the local organizations (Dickinson and Glasby, 2010). The aim of local area agreement is to decrease the gap that exists between deprived and better off areas. Specific policy spheres are at the focus of this agreement. In this partnership model, the selection of targets is done after a discussion has been held with the partners. The LAA model may be applied in the health care sector. For example, a partnership can be formed by Wellington hospital with the central government. This will assist in eliminating health inequalities. The hospital will thus be able to provide care and treatment to the weaker sections of the society. Discussion can be held with the central government in which decisions regarding targets can be made.
iii) Joint Working Agreements
In the sector of health and social care, joint working agreements are those which aim at the welfare of the patients through collaborative working. Through these agreements, health care organizations get an opportunity to work with pharmaceutical companies and other organizations. The experience, as well as resources, are pooled by these organizations so as to foster joint development (Tribe, 2009). In this way, the implementation of patient-centered projects can be done. Both the organizations thus work on a shared vision of being committed to the successful delivery of health care services. Wellington hospital can bring this into practice in many ways. For example, one of the ways of forming joint working agreements can be to work with a therapy institution. In this way, along with the treatment, the hospital would also provide therapies to the patients. Thus, the quality of health care services can be improved by both these organizations. Also, there can be the implementation of alternative models of health care which aim at improving the access to care (Rummery, 2009). This also includes redesigning services.
b) Ways of Reviewing Appropriate current Legislation before Working in Partnership
As a manager of a residential care home, I would review appropriate legislations, organizational objectives and policies with the team leaders in various ways. This will be done before the care home enters into a partnership with external agencies. For example, meeting can be organized with the team leaders at the care home. Prior to the meeting,the team leaders will be assigned the responsibility of assessing the objectives of the care home and preparing a report on them. The working practice will also be evaluated by them. In this way, they will be given the duty of gathering complete information about the the procedures that care home follows for admitting the patients, assessing them, recording the details, monitoring, provision of medications and diagnosis. By reviewing these procedures, details regarding them will be noted by the team leaders (McGorry and et. al., 2010). Following this, information sheet on the current policies that the care home has implemented will be prepared by me. In the meeting, there will be discussion on current legislations. In the meeting, the reports provided by the team leaders will be used to review the extent to which practices, objectives and policies of care home follow the legislations.
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c) Ways in which differences affect the ability of agencies
The ability of the agencies to work in a collaborative manner towards benefiting the service users can be significantly affected by the two sets of differences given below.
i) Differences in Working Practices
The ability of the agencies to work together is affected by the differences in working practices. For example, the way of working of Wellington hospital, which is a private organization may be different from that of a voluntary organization. In the hospital, there is a particular system of attending to the patients, admitting them, providing medications, record keeping etc. this would be entirely different from work structure of a voluntary organization. This is because, the mission and vision of an organization describe its working practices (Rigby and et.al., 2011). The vision and mission of a voluntary organization is different from a private organization like wellington hospital. This vision palsy an important role in influencing the employees. Due to difference in the working practices, the employees have different perception regarding provision of services. In a private organization, the health care professional consider it as merely their job to provide treatment and care. It is regarded as a source of income by them. In contrast to this, providing services of health care is considered to be a means to serve mankind by the employees of voluntary organization. These differences have an adverse effect on the ability of the agencies to work together.
Therefore, goals pf collaborative working cannot be achieved. Moreover, it can also impact provision of patient centered care I a negative manner.
ii) Differences in Objectives, Policies, and Procedures
The ability of agencies to work collaboratively is also affected by the differences in objectives, procedures and policies. For example, different procedures are adopted by a national organization for carrying out risk assessment as compared to a local organization. Due to this, there may be chaos and confusion which affects the work of both the organizations (Barr and et.al., 2008). The organizations may fail to identify relevant risks at the workplace. This is because of the differences in the objectives, policies and procedures. The objective of a private organization like wellington hospital is guided by its aim which is to become a renowned health care setting. This is different from the aim of a voluntary organization which is to serve those people who are not able to access health care due to various barriers. For example, a national agency may lay emphasis on providing services in a way that health inequalities are reduced. This may be different from the aim of a local agency. A local agency solely aims at provision of services to those who come to avail it (Gardiner, Gott and Ingleton, 2012). Due to these differences in the objectives, there may be unclear roles and responsibilities of staff. This may hamper collaborative working. Moreover, differences in the policies of two organizations also affect their ability to work together.
a) Evaluating possible outcomes of partnership working
As a manager in the Wellington hospital, the positive and negative outcomes of partnership working will be evaluated by me as follows:
1) Users of Organization Service
The patients who come to the hospital for obtaining treatment are considered to be the users of its services. The positive outcomes of partnership working for the service uses will be evaluated by by assessing the improvements in the services, autonomy of patients, their empowerment and the extent to which they make informed choices (Wallcraft and et.al., 2011). If the service users are able to take informed decisions regarding their care and are fully empowered then it will be a positive outcome. The evaluation of negative outcomes can be done by identifying the aspects such as harm, neglect, anger and miscommunication among the service users. If the patients become frustrated, and there is dis-empowerment and duplication of services, then it can be considered as a negative outcome of partnership working.
2) Outside Professionals Operating within that Workplace
Positive outcomes are characterized by various aspects. There is adoption of a professional approach and the service are provided in a coordinated manner. Clear roles and responsibilities also indicate positive outcomes (Hunter and Perkins, 2012). Moreover, effective communication is another measure which denotes that partnership working has led to positive outcomes. In contrast to this, if there stems up professional rivalry and the funds are not managed properly, then it indicates the negative outcomes of partnership working.
3) External Organizations Involved
There are various ways of evaluating the positive outcomes of partnership working for external organizations that are involve in it. These are through shared principles, integrated services ad coherent approach (Reeves and et.al., 2011). Comprehensive service provision is a feature which indicates that partnership working has been fruitful for the external organizations involved. However, disjointed service provision, communication breakdown and increased costs indicate negative outcomes.
b) Analyzing potential barriers that compromise effective partnership working
Effective partnership working at Wellington hospital might be compromised due to the following barriers:
- Unclear roles and responsibilities may act as a barrier. When the employees will lack clarity about role, they will not perform in coordination with others.
- Partnership working is also obstructed by negative attitudes of the staff. This will restrain them from working towards shared purpose (McKeown, Malihi-Shoja and Downe, 2011).
- Lack of effective communication also acts as a barrier as it obstructs smooth flow of work processes thus compromising on partnership working.
c) Suggestions for improving partnership working
The following suggestions can be given to Wellington hospital for improving partnership working:
- Effective communication is the key to success of every project (Kelly and Jones, 2013). Therefore, the hospital should focus on improving its communication procedures.
- Wellington hospital can improve partnership working by providing training on team building skills.
- The hospital can implement various models of empowerment. These will support partnership working (Tribe, 2009).
From the report, it can be concluded that the various philosophies of partnership working can be applied such as autonomy, independence, respect, empowerment and power sharing. Wellington hospital has linked with voluntary organizations, social groups, therapists t meet the needs of individual service users. There are three models of partnership working. They are multi level agreement, local area agreement and joint working agreements. Differences in working practices, objectives, policies and procedures affect the ability of agencies to work together.
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