Throughout our development and growth, the vast majority of the population acquires a set of knowledge and skills through which we will forge our identity, our way of seeing the world and the way we interact with it. We learn to perform tasks that allow us an autonomous and independent livelihood.
However, there are people who for some reason have lost or have not developed enough skills to perform daily activities completely independently. These people may need some kind of supervision, help or support in the different daily tasks, a help which can be provided in many cases by different types of social and health institutions.
This requires professionals capable of meeting the needs of this sector of the population, so that training in social and health care for dependent people in social institutions. This is what we will be talking about throughout this article.
What is social health care for dependent people?
To understand the type of care that should be offered by social institutions to dependent people, first we must take into account what the concept of dependent person refers to.
We consider a person to be dependent when they are in a situation or state of generally permanent characteristics in which, for whatever reason, that person they have lost or seen their faculties or capacities to lead a fully independent life, Or when it has not been able to fully develop these skills to levels that allow it to act autonomously and adapt to environmental and social requirements.
Addiction involves the need for attention, support or supervision by other people (or resources) outside of one’s own subject in order to be able to carry out daily activities or to maintain an action as autonomous as possible.
While in general when we talk about addiction we usually think of people with intellectual disabilities or some type of neurodegenerative disease, the truth is that from there the concept of addict also includes subjects who have an addiction. some degree of physical, sensory or vital activity. greatly disturbed by the presence of some type of psychiatric problem.
In addition, the elderly or in delicate health are also included who needs ongoing assistance.
In some cases, the person is in a situation of legal incapacity and may be supervised by a family member or a foundation, although you don’t need to be legally incapable of having any degree of addiction.
Thus, support or socio-health care is not something that only involves action at the cognitive level but overall care, which can include different types of actions depending on needs, the subject’s difficulties and / or potential. It is important to assess the intent of these services it is not only a question of mitigating possible deficits, but also of maximizing and optimizing the strengths of the individual, As well as their quality of life.
It should also be borne in mind that when we speak of social and health care in social institutions, we are referring to the care that is offered in an organization or structure dedicated to serving and seeking the well-being of users. , and the action can be performed in multiple environments.
Type of social institution for people with a certain type of dependency
Regarding the type of resource or social or socio-health institution offered to people in a situation of dependency, we can find different categories with different objectives and types of treatments or supports offered. In this sense, some of the most common are as follows.
1. Dependency prevention service
These are devices whose main task is to try to prevent or limit the possibility or the aggravation of situations of dependence in populations at risk, the most obvious example being that of people with a congenital disability or seniors. Thus, in this type of device, we work with a population that either he does not yet have a situation of dependency, or we try not to limit of what the autonomy of the person already does.
2. Hospitals and day centers
Probably the most well-known types of social health services or institutions, day centers and day hospitals have as their main purpose: provide comprehensive and comprehensive care to users in order to increase or maintain their level of autonomy, socio-community participation, self-management capacity and in general their quality of life.
Her biopsychosocial work typically includes the application of measures of rehabilitation, restoration or compensation of functions, guidance and advice for the user, the facilitation and formation of social and family bonds without the need for an income, promoting healthy habits, controlling the situation and providing support to the end user and his environment.
3. Residential care centers
This last type of center, also very well known, is dedicated to the offer of social and health care equally comprehensive, but for people who are admitted or located in the same department, in which they live (permanently or temporarily). .
In these centers, users perform different types of activities, workshops or therapies (Depending on the case) which make it possible to improve and / or preserve their autonomy and / or their capacities, to promote their involvement and their socialization. An example of this type of service can be found in Llar Residència, Catalonia (Llar Residència, in Spanish).
4. Other types of services
While the above three are among the most common, it is also worth mentioning that there are many other types of care for dependent people. Among them, we can find the remote assistance service or home help.
Also and at a more comprehensive level of health, we can find various services in the public health portfolio, such as units of high psychiatric dependence or admission to acute or subacute units, neuropsychiatry or psychogeriatrics.
Degree of dependence and activities from which they are analyzed
It should be borne in mind that in order to provide quality health and social care to dependent people, it is first necessary to know what their needs are and to what extent they have a certain type of dependency.
In this sense, it will be necessary for a professional with the appropriate training to be able to value the subject., For which he will use one or more questionnaires and the observation of the subject as well as the characteristics and reports of his vital situation and the environment. This will result in a score on the addiction rating scales which will be used to determine the type or degree of addiction of the person in question.
The types of activities analyzed are generally the basic activities of daily living: nutrition, hygiene, sleep, sphincter control, mobility and movement, household tasks, ability to maintain health, ability to make decisions. too much it is taken into account if, for example, external help or support is necessary to carry out these actions.
Based on the scale that we have seen, we can get three types of addiction: Grade I or moderate in which the subject needs timely help to be independent, Grade II or severe in which he does not. a permanent caregiver is not yet necessary if help is needed several times a day to perform certain basic and level III activities or high dependency in which the subject needs a caregiver, supervision or continuous help in his daily life.
Another factor to take into account is that the care of a dependent person requires the collaboration of different people. professionals from various branches, both health and social.
the specific type of professionals that each person will need may vary from case to case, but in general one can find doctors (from any branch be it neurology, phoniatry, cardiology, endocrinology, immunology … ), nurses, psychologists, assistants, physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, educators, teachers and pedagogues (and not just in the case of children) and in some cases even lawyers.
All will have to coordinate their action to offer comprehensive care that it take into account the needs, potential and difficulties of the dependent person in order to improve their quality of life as much as possible.
Although the different professionals involved will work focusing on their specialty in order to help the subject, we can largely determine the general nature of the main task of the social and health care of dependent people in social institutions.
The action of professionals aims at the development and implementation of programs to provide assistance to enable the subject to perform basic activities with which he has difficulties, the rehabilitation or compensation of systems, capacities and functions, the incorporation of the subject in social participation and in bonding with other people and education and psychoeducation both subject-oriented and towards his environment of face to face possible difficulties and to improve the standard of living and the autonomy of the subject.
This action includes the approach of therapies and activities aimed at cognitive stimulation, cognitive restructuring of distorted beliefs, the use of occupational therapy to improve functionality in basic activities, health promotion and prevention of harm, adherence to treatment where appropriate, stress or emotional management, or improving social participation through various activities and training, among others.
all that always maintaining an ethical line in which dignity, confidentiality and respect prevail to the abilities and independence of the subject, at the same time that a warm and comfortable environment is generated and the maximum benefit for the subject is sought and to avoid as much as possible any damage produced by the own action of well-being.
- Institute for Training and Social Studies (IFES). Territorial Directorate of Andalusia. (2010). Socio-sanitary care of dependent people in social institutions. Training module 1. Support for the organization of interventions in the institutional field. Training unit 1. Support for reception and reception in institutions for dependent persons. Andalusia, Spain.