Health is defined as the stage of being physically, mentally and socially sound. To elaborate,
health is both the inner and outer state, the stage of being free of diseases, the state of the soul, being more optimistic and not giving up in any kind of difficulties.(Manni, 2009). Health promotion is an important and crucial factor that is required to develop a healthy society. It can be defined as the process of making of people aware about their health, understand the risk factors associated with adverse health effects, as well as educating people and implementing a wide range of social and environmental interventions to improve their health and encouraging them to live a healthy life (Naidoo and Wills, 2009). Promoting health through interpersonal relationship is an endeavour to take control of an individual’s health determinant which includes social behaviour, economic and environmental conditions. This involves a health professional with the knowledge, attitude and the skills to influence clients through communication on how to improve their health and maintain a productive life. (Naidoo and Wills, 2009). Thus health professionals play a central role in uplifting individual’s health status. For instance, health care professionals can make people aware about the risks associated with smoking and alcohol, risk of practising unsafe sex, risk associated with high fat and calorie rich diet etc. In this report, the factors that may influence individual’s health, concept, attitude and behaviour are highlighted. Furthermore, the role of social and health workers in improving individual’s health and well being are reviewed. The health professional with self awareness and interpersonal skills can effectively communicate with people to achieve therapeutic benefits. Also, they can educate and inform people to achieve a positive outcome of holistic health using the fundamental aspect of care. Overall, the goal of therapeutic communication is to help clients talk about and resolve their feelings and problems related to health, illness, treatments, and nursing care (Craven & Hirnle, 2007).
This main of this assignment is to analyse the interaction between a social worker and a pregnant service user (a mother named Kim) who was a drug and alcohol dependant, and as a result of her addiction, her three children from the previous relationship were taken away from her care. This is because, she was found irresponsible about her children and was not providing enough care and support to her children.
Factors that affected Kim’s way of living and its affect on her life and health
There are several factors that may influence an individual concept of health which include, psychological and lifestyle issues. This was evidenced in the DVD clip of “Someone To Watch Over Me”, where it was witnessed that the drug and alcohol addiction made her to neglect her own children, and as a result, they were removed from her care by social services. In the DVD, it was also shown that she was expecting a fourth child with a new partner, Adam who had mental health issues. In this example, it was evidenced that Kim’s lifestyle choices, i.e. her way of living her life, made her the alcohol and drug addict. This had a significant impact on her family life. Moreover, the influence of the society could have been another major factor that would have pushed her to adopt the lifestyle she was living. The societal factors that could have contributed to Kim’s way of living life could be the kind of people living in her society, their educational and economic background The consequences of all these influencing factors directly made an impact on her ability to look after her children, as well as her is a her ability to cope with the demands of her children.
The effects of Kim’s way of living can also have serious consequences on Kim’s health. It is now well established that alcohol increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by the biochemical process known as lipid peroxidation. This increases the level of free radicals in the circulation leading to the formation of atherosclerotic plague. Similarly smoking clogs the arterial flow of blood and leads to ischemia (Laslett, et.al. 2012). Thus, her tendency to smoke alarmingly increases her risk of acquiring coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease. Substance abuse-involving drugs, and alcohol, or both- are associated with a range of destructive social conditions, financial problems, lost productivity, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and crime (Health people.gov). To conclude, the impact of Kim’s way of living life can be really big and can bring serious consequences to her personal and social life.
According to research, the risk factors associated with substance misuse can result in mental health and behavioural issues which were also evidenced in Kim’s lifestyle (Vivancos, et.al. 2013). Other research have indicated the link between coronary heart disease and various psychological factors including stress, depression, lack of social support and anger (Stansfied and Marmot, 2001; Naidoo and Wills, 2009). Although these links are yet to be established fully, these factors may encourage people to involve in drug, alcohol and smoking additions which are found to have direct links with heart attack, stroke, cancer, respiratory diseases.
The impact of these factors on Kim’s unborn baby also cannot be neglected. As stated earlier, Kim’s current partner had a history of mental health illness, which although is manageable, can be hereditary and transfer to her unborn baby through her partner. Nurnberger, et.al (2003) suggested a genetic relationship between depression and alcohol dependence in some families. In the study they found that both alcoholism and depression can be genetically transmitted having a direct effect on the offspring. This can affect the baby’s personal and mental development, which can affect the baby’s development throughout the life. More so, prenatal and perinatal risk factors have been associated generally with behaviour problems in children. Maternal substance use, specifically smoking during pregnancy and persistence smoking during and after pregnancy, has been associated with conduct disorder in girls and boys (Romans & Seeman, 2006).
Although Kim’s lifestyle choices may have been influenced by her social and community network, however, Kim lacked social and community support. She wasan unemployed full time mother who was unable to cope with the demands of her three children on her own. She did not seem to have a social support network from her friends or family to assist her with her three children before they were removed by social services. She had no educational backgrounds and not aware of social support network available which could have educated and supported her in dealing with issues relating to her health. Based on the video clip, these are other reasons why she might have started taking excessive drugs, alcohol and smoking as coping mechanism. Culture is both influencing and influenced by universal values, emotions and feelings that people may share across different groups within the same culture or in some cases, across cultures (Peace and Corps, 2011). Although the direct role of culture on Kim’s way of living was difficult to predict, considering the definition by Peace and Corps, it might have influenced her either directly or indirectly.
Impact of Kim’s way of living on her children
Kim’s lifestyle could not only be a risk to her health, experiencing such event can also be a danger to her children’s future. It can have a major impact on the psychology her children if they see their mother’s way of living her life, which can also impact the lifestyle they might choose to live and may also encourage them to copy the same way of living. The idea that early childhood experience have long-term implications is not new; what is new, however, is the emerging understanding of how early childhood experience can influence biology of the developing child in ways that can influence health, well-being and competence decades later (Hertzman, 1999).
Role of a health professional/or a nurse in addressing the issues of Kim and her unborn child
The health professional caseload includes the substance misuse, Kim and her partner, Adam’s mental health issues. This is because, these issues put the unborn child in a significant risk of adverse health consequences. As a health professional, a nurse’s duty would be to address Kim’s health and development issues before and after the delivery of the child]. Another issue the nurse can face in Kim’s case could be lack of co-operation during the delivery of the service. There could arise the issues of stress as the nurse can be in fear that her client might not cooperate in the set agreements that would be required while giving her the health service.
In Kim’s case, despite the risk, the health professional decided not to put the unborn baby on the child protection register and had empathised with them by giving them a second chance to prove they can be good parents by educating and monitoring them. She was also concerned regarding the risks involved during the trial if anything would happen to the baby. This was the big decision that was made, considering the fact that Kim had been a drug and alcohol addict which also resulted the loss of her right to look after her children and Adam, who had mental health illness. . However, making decisions like this was a part of her role because it involved educating her clients to take charge of their lives and health. Her decision is also supported by the guideline provided by public health agency (2009), which state that a fundamental aspect of health promotion is to empower people to have more control over aspects of their lives that affects their health. and enable them to live individually, socially, and economically productive lives.
Discussion and Conclusion
The DVD clip “Someone to Watch over Me” portrayed some health risk associated with each character’s lifestyle. Kim was addicted to drug, alcohol and smoking that made her totally irrepsobile towards her children, and thus, were ultimately taken away from her custody. There are other studies that have suggested the similar risk associated with chronic use of drugs and alcohol. Morales (2013) suggested alcohol dependence as a risk factor that can result in suicidal attempt. Furthermore, it suggested that chronic alcohol and drug intake is associated with mental illness such as depression and anxiety. It further suggested that excessive alcohol intake can decrease the person’s self control ability and common sense, thus putting them in a singnificant risk of harming themselves or even creating thoughts of suicidal activities. It was witnessed that children were kept under her custody were starting, and the level of personal hygiene and sanitation was below the standard. The children looked dirty and all them appeared confused, which clearly showed the lack of care and management from their mother. The reason behind this is quite understandable, which is also explained by Craven and Hirnle (2007). They explained the term “dehumanization” as the process of
depriving a person’s personality, spirit, privacy, and other human qualities., whichleads to a stage where an individual neglects the individuality, ignore their specific needs and fail to recognize the importance of their care to the loved onces.To solve the health and social issues associated with Kim and Adam’s conditions, there were objectives set by the health professional with an aim to improving their conditions. A second chance was given where they had to agree upon certain thing in oder to have a fourth child. She and her partner Adam would have to follow a set of rules and sign an agreement to be closely monitored due to Kim’s past irresponsible behaviour However, this decision raised concern to Kim because she had feared that her unborn baby might be taken away from her by the social service care because she had previously failed to manage her three children due to drug and alcohol misuse. Drug and alcohol misuse ruined her life as she went on to lose her all three children as their grown up in extremely miserable condition with lack of food and sanitation. Alchol and drug abuse was the main culprit behind this, which as well affected her health. He had developed a self-reactive and self-destructive over the course of time with chronic abuse of drug and alcohol. The correlation between such behaviours and alcohol and drug abuse was also explained by Morales (2013), and thus, corroborated with Kim’s condition.
Although Kim agreed on the certain conditions in order to have a fourth child, however, the decision can be challenging to Kim. Although, she decided to give up her previous way of living her life, to abruptly quit alcohol and drug is not easy and would require a great level of commitment from Kim itself. Health care professionals can help Kim in many ways to bring her back to a normal stage from where she and her newly born child can live a better quality of life
In the DVD, Kim was witnessed smoking with her partner. Thus suggested that Kim was still unaware of the adverse health effects the smoking can induce during pregnancy.. One immediate action Kim should take was to quit smoking as she was in her final stage of pregnancy. Smoking in such stage could affect to herself, as well as her unborn child. The child might also be affected after the birth as the effect of smoking can persist longer even after the birth of the child. Communication could be an effective approach to deal with Kim’s condition in building a bridge between a health professional and Kim towards an aspect of achieving a positive progress in her health.
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