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Social Work And Occupational Therapy: The Role Of Health Or Social Care Professional

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The importance of health care to the society is as a result of illnesses, accidents and emergencies which demands medical interventions to diagnose, manage or treat the diseases. The National Health Service (NHS) is the provider of healthcare in England through the services of healthcare professionals in various capacities. For example, doctors, nurses, midwifery, occupational therapy, social work, paramedics, youth and community etc are under the guidance of NHS Constitution (NHS Constitution, 2015) The essay will focus on the role, skills and value of two health care professionals in social work and occupational therapy. Comparison will be made between the roles of the profession to acknowledge their responsibilities and contributions as interprofessionals to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals. (Essay UK, 2013). Through the analysis of both professions, references will be made to a related case that involves the profession. References will also be made to other professionals that are likely to work with social work and occupational therapist as a multi-disciplinary team.

The Care Act 2014 is the legislation governing social work and Occupation therapy which imposes general duties on the local council. Some of the duties imposed include care and support with healthcare. Through the legislation, local authorities were authorised to charge, cap on care cost. The care standard includes the quality of services, including the duty of condor and health education. Despite the legislation, the Social Work and Occupation therapy are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which sets out the standards of conduct, performance required in general terms which include the promotion and the protection of the general public and carers, communicate appropriately and effectively, working within your knowledge and skills and to delegating appropriately, keeping confidentiality, be open when things go wrong through honesty and trustworthy and keeping records of work (HCPC Standard, 2016).

Social workers take on a range of roles and their purpose is to support disadvantages individuals and improve their wellbeing. In acute hospitals, Social workers work with other healthcare professionals. There are six types of patient-care in Social work practice in the hospitals: paediatric, care of the elderly, surgical and orthopaedic, accident & emergency and psychiatry. The functions and responsibility of a social worker include statutory responsibilities in child protection and mental health. Their role in hospitals, however, is related to discharge planning, which has been enforced under the Community Care Act 1990. Social work practice in the community are responsible for the protection of vulnerable children and adults, which will also include working with forensic in assisting victims of crimes, mental health and children in the community. The contribution of social work in the community is a key to making provisions for the health care framework.

Occupational therapy practice on the other hand, is embedded into a routine activity for older people in hospitals, which live a large quantity of the time therapy staffs spend in hospital. The critical role of Occupational therapists is to help people with disabilities caused by illness, ageing or accident so that they can carry out normal daily living activities. These issues could be in acute hospital settings or in the community. The Occupational therapy responsibilities include assessing individuals, providing information on safe discharge for the best interest of the older person and their carer in the communities. The introduction of a new range of services connecting hospital and home raises the need for an urgent, critical evaluation of this practice. (Mountain and Pighills, 2003). The skills require for Occupation therapy is similar to a social worker. However, they require the understanding of people’s difficulties and working to find a way of improving their social input, strategies to develop people’s confidence and recommending equipment to aid mobility and give confidence to client (Altenberger and Mackay, 2008).

There are differences in the services that both profession provide to the general public, as Occupation therapy deals with most people with physical impairment, so as to improve the mobility to cope with activities of daily living and to improve their wellbeing, while social work deals with the protection of abuse of vulnerable people and financial support with criteria’s. The similarities between the two profession is in terms of supporting people with disabilities in acute hospital settings and in the communities. Both professions are under the NHS in providing care to the general public and regulated by the HCPC. The two professions also work as inter-professionals in the same settings towards one goal of a client with different input on the client. Interprofessional practice encourages learning/education when two or more professionals learn about each other in collaboration to providing holistic care. (Barr et al, 2005). Interprofessional working is the combination of expertise of various health professionals to deliver seamless, comprehensive holistic care to individual patients. (Rogers, 2015). The World Health Organisation suggested that the collaboration of interprofessionals is an essential component in delivery quality services. (WHO, 2010).

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The Social work profession have legal responsibilities that are related to fiduciary duties with their clients. The fiduciary duties involve maintaining client’s confidentiality, informed consent and conflict of interest which are legally binding There is an obligation on the duty of loyalty and honesty which emerges from the fiduciary relationship that forms the legal standard for professional conduct (Kutchins, 1991). The obligation helps to create the responsibilities for social work which involve the assessment of clients, planning intervention and reviews. There are three attributes that are required to develop therapeutic relationship with clients., which includes empathy to understand the feeling of other people, non-judgemental whether clients are right or wrong. The warmness with clients through acceptance and caring for them through unconditional regards and been genuine of themselves without personal or professional front.

The responsibilities of a social worker will require essential skills of effective communication skills in assessing clients. Skills are described in reviews commissioned of social work and education (Croisdale Appleby, 2014), in relation to social altitude, behaviour, knowledge and values. The College of Social Work Profession and Capabilities Framework, PCF, 2012 outlined the skills required for a professionals and regulatory standard are the College of Social Work Profession and Capabilities Framework (PCF, 2012) and the Health and Care Profession Council’s Standard of Proficiencies (SoPs, 2012). The core skill of communication (interpersonal and written) building relationships, assessment, planning and reflective practice. Communication skills will include skills required in interviews. The communication skills in professional context involve asking effective questions that can derive relevant detailed information to derive clues for assessing clients. (Trevithick, 2012). Other skills include skills for working in various practice related context, such as inter-professional practice, service users, carers and leadership roles as well as ethical, cultural and legal competences.

The importance of social work in the community was tested through the tragic death of Peter Connolly, ‘Baby P’ in 2009. Peter Connolly was abused by Barker, his mother’s partner, which eventually caused his death. Peter was brutally abused by Barker for months. Peter was left in the cot for hours and had his fingers tips sliced with a Stanley knife and his nails pulled out with pliers. When social worker Maria Ward made a pre-arranged to Peter’s home, she failed to spot the injuries on Peter’s face and hand. Two doctors in the hospital gave statement to the police that baby P bruises were unexpected injuries, it was obvious that there was not enough evidence to help the case. Peter was eventually hit with a blow that killed him. There were multiple bruises all over baby P body at death. The post-mortem examination revealed that there was a probability that Peter has suffered a broken back and fractured ribs before being taken to St Ann’s hospital. Haringey Social Services was accused of a catalogue of failures that could have prevented Peter’s death. In the risk society, most risks including the abuse and death of children can be prevented if social worker make appropriate use of their professional skills through the legal power and procedures. The process of the Social Work Task Force was weighed for the identification of the strength, complexities and challenges in the social work environment (Social Work Task Force, 2009).

The negligence and lack of care by the healthcare professionals in the baby P and other related cases like the Victoria Climbie and many others has prompted the NHS Constitution 2015 for values required from healthcare professionals. Part of the values which was lacking by the healthcare professionals in the baby P case include values essential for compassionate care refers to as 6c’s. This include care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Care is the core business of the NHS, which emphasises on the care delivered to support and improve health. Compassion relates to the relationship of care which brings empathy, respect and dignity, as well as intelligent kindness perceived by people. Competence comprises the understanding of someone’s health and social needs, which relates to experience, expert, knowledge and effective delivery. Communication is centre to a successful caring relationship. Courage enable us to do the right things for the people. Commitment to the people is the cornerstone of care delivery.

In conclusion, the Social work and Occupational therapy have similarities in the services provided for the public. Although Occupational therapy deals more with people with physical disability, they are regulated under the umbrella of the HCPC. It will be fair to say that every individuals have difference of opinions and would fit more into the Social work profession as the responsibilities and skills required are more suitable for me in relation to practice.

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Social Work And Occupational Therapy: The Role Of Health Or Social Care Professional. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Social Work And Occupational Therapy: The Role Of Health Or Social Care Professional.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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