Impacts of Social, Personal, and Social Issues on Collaborative Working



Inter-professional collaboration involves the relationship in working that exists between different professional groups that may include police officers, teachers and social workers. This type of working relationship is considered as important since all the parties involved bring their experiences in to the collaborative process (Scie 2009). This kind of working relationship is also important since it enables differing perspectives to come together in order in order to ensure that the respective professionals contribute the best they can with the aim of improving the standards of service based on experiences of the caregivers and service users (Bee, Brooks, Fraser, & Lovell 2015). Considerations must also be made for ensuring that collaboration is not only between professionals but also between the agencies involved. It must involve a mix of working cultures and practices within organizations and investigation on how priorities and resources may affect staff. 

The importance of the series case review

This case is important to the aspect of collaborative practise because it points to several issues that collaborative practise could have helped sort and prevent his death. The case also points to the difficulties that different stakeholders experience in collaborative practise. In Daniel Pelker’s case, the parents lied about his condition especially the fact that he was being denied food at home. The school took the mother’s word with finality without further investigation and exacerbated Daniels case. The appointments with community paediatricians, the school nurse and GPs were often cancelled and there agencies lacked the ability to share information. The case also shows how lack of communication, language barrier and cultural assumptions could lead to problems in healthcare delivery.

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Importance of collaborative practice amongst multidiscipline/health professionals

In health care provision, collaborative working involves a mix of actions between different health care professionals with the aim of providing sufficient and effective care to the clients. Application of collaborative working is naturally systematic and requires teamwork (Crawford & Evans 2017). For instance, Daniel’s case involved communication between the school nurse, teachers, pediatrician, education offices and health support officer. The boy was living with his two siblings, mother and step father at the time of his death. Both the mother and the step father were arrested and found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court on July 31st 2013. Daniel died as a result of starvation and torture by his parents and was weighing 10kgs when he died (Hudson 2013). Engagement in child matters is important children matters are important in the education systems, community settings and related agencies (Crawford & L’Hoiry 2015). Collaborative practice amongst multidiscipline/health professionals helps improve patient outcomes and makes the work of healthcare professionals easier. Teamwork helps health care providers to reduce extra work, increase job satisfaction, reduce work stress and promote healthy working relationships among them. It also closes communication gaps because they can interact on a personal basis to maintain continuity of care. Collaborative practice promotes patient-centered care and encourages healthcare professionals to share goals to provide patients with the best care possible.

There are disadvantages of multi professionals working together. First, collaborative practice could lead to confusion where there is no effective communication. This was evident and affected the way Daniel’s case was handled and eventually it was impossible for the professional to prevent his untimely death which under normal circumstances could have been avoided (Munn-Giddings & Winter 2013). Where one professional makes a misdiagnoses, it confuses the others and leads to suffering. Collaborative working requires the parties involved to possess the expertise and knowledge in handling the different cases presented to them. For instance, the pediatrician handling Daniel’s case is not able to give a proper diagnosis. According to his observation, Daniel was affected by gradual weight loss bur he could not relate it to the underlying medical conditions. He did not give an analysis of other factors such as starvation and abuse. It is therefore possible that the knowledge of the pediatrician at a personal level could not enable him to comprehend such cases. The level of knowledge possessed by professionals working on a case has a great impact on the quality of work and poor knowledge could lead to negative results (Milner, Myers, and O’Byrne 2015). When professionals are unwilling to work together, it is the patient who suffers. The professionals who worked in the case of Daniel did not put in teamwork. This also led to a waste of time, which is a common disadvantage of collaborative practice.

How social issues like language barriers and difference in culture can make a difference for service providers and service users

The social aspect in collaborate working is also an important point to consider especially in Daniel’s case. Language barriers is a major problem for service providers and service users because if they do not understand one another, health care service delivery will be affected. Language is the main form of communication between and among different service providers and service users (Razmerita, Kirchner, & Nabeth 2014). Where there is no interpreter, then it becomes difficult for a service user to request for the help that he or she needs and also it becomes a problem for the service provider to know what to do. Cultural difference could also be a barrier because there are cultures where men would not want to be attended to by women and vice versa even if they are service providers. In other cultures, certain practices used by service providers are not acceptable and this hinders service delivery. Other cultures consider men as superior and would not want them to associate with children when women are present and this could be clearly seen in Daniel’s case. Moreover, social issues and beliefs affect and, in most instances, hinder effective collaborative working. In some cases, professionals may shy away from confronting parents, particularly in regions or cultures where parents are believed to reign supreme in matters related to their children. In such scenarios, professionals may take the parents’ word for it in the fear of sounding disrespectful or seeming to invading in private family issues (Dubois & Miley, 2013; Hepworth et al, 2016). Nevertheless, there is an overarching need to robustly challenge parents concerning the effects of their actions on their children, especially in situations where substance misuse and domestic violence are either suspected or present. Indeed, respectful skepticism has been touted as the best alternative for professionals, in which they should remain cynical of all justifications, explanations, or excuses received regarding the potential mistreatment of kids by parents. While it is important to listen to parents and treat them with respect, professionals need to do due diligence and verify such information before forming their analyses (Payne 2015).

With regard to professional factors, research has identified four broad themes as being core influences on inter-professional collaboration. Firstly, inter-professional attitudes, which presage the views and perceptions of members of one profession towards another occupation, may act as important enhancers of or barriers to effective collaborative working as well as care and user experiences. According to Herbert et al (2007), some nurses and health workers bear particularly string perceptions and feelings concerning the actions of other professionals that often affect how they decide to collaborate or share information with people in different occupations. Issues within the profession may also shape carers’ attitudes. Jones (2013) argues that increasing pressure within the child protection system in England as referrals, investigations, assessments, care proceedings, and the number of kids in need of protection increase simultaneously with cuts in public sector budgets without any commensurate increases in worker time and capacity. Inevitably, workers begin to feel burdened and burnout, and may decide to cut corners to close cases quickly and take on more urgent matters.

How communications can cause barriers between health professionals

Another professional issue that may affect collaborative working is communication as described by Irajpour and Alavi (2015). Accordingly, every social workers or healthcare provider has a set of specific work-related attitudes, world views, and beliefs that increase the preference for intra-professional communication and collaboration. Studies have shown a considerable level of resistance from professionals towards accepting and interacting effectively with outsiders. In addition, the occurrence of blurred boundaries or overlapping areas of professional roles and specialties often culminate in role ambiguity and confusion (Razmerita, Kirchner, & Nabeth 2014).  A more relevant theme that is reflected in Daniel’s case is a general inclination towards a problem-focused approach to service delivery in which service providers concentrate primarily on solving their clients’ heath issues by managing the observable symptoms but did not communicate with each other (Cameron, Lart, Bostock, & Coomber 2014). In Daniel’s case, the various professionals involved failed to engage in meaningful collaborative work because they did not want to communicate. They showed their willingness to go by Ms. Luczak’s explanations other than investigating and validating her allegations. There were no documentations that the service providers could use to communicate to one another. Each professional did what he or she thought was right and did not care to communicate this to the others, thereby making the case more difficult. If proper professional communication was used, the root problem for the case which in this case is child abuse would have been established and the boy would have been saved from the life threatening issue. The professionals engaged in the case were enough to have handled it efficiently but what happened is the reverse

Personal issues communication, style, value and belief include and introduction that confidentiality will be maintained by NMC 2015

Personal issues, such as the level of professional understanding, power inequity, and interpersonal skills, impact on the quality and degree of collaborative working in social and healthcare settings (Lawlis, Anson, & Greenfield 2014). Professionals are typically guided by the concept of enhancing users’ experiences by using person-centered approaches to optimize and restore the wellbeing of their clients. As such, aspects such as patience, empathy, communication, and dignity are particularly important. Nurses, clinicians, and medical practitioners alike play the roles of assessors, therapists, clinicians, counselors, managers, reflectors, educators, and supervisors (Brett et al. 2014). The NMC 2015 acknowledges as one of its standards that nurses should be confidential about a patient’s information, respect their right to privacy both when alive or dead and ensure that the patient is informed about why their information should be shared among professionals providing care to them. As such, adequate knowledge of the components of each of these roles can help professionals to dispense their duties effectively. Mastery of these job roles among all professionals involved in Daniel’s roles would have enabled them to collaborate to solve the problem and avoid the child’s death. Further, professionals need to understand the procedures and benefits of collaborative working and exhibit positive attitudes towards inter-professional collaboration practices. Widen-Wulff (2014) also notes the increased tendency towards person-centered approaches in which professionals are enthused by personal motives and willingness instead of their professional commitments and roles, the consequence of which is conflicts of interest and undue competition. Daniel’s case is a typical scenario in which professionals failed to use their professional and interpersonal skills to assess the situation and offer workable solutions. Specifically, they overlooked the need to evaluate Daniel’s living conditions, including his sleeping space, his family’s history, and the parent-child relationship.

Another important factor to consider is the interplay between social work and the media, which plays a substantial function of furnishing the public with information and is essentially involved in forming perceptions concerning various issues. With regard to social work, the media provides a podium for public discussions and public opinions concerning the efficacy of social workers. The increasing potential for negative, biases, or inaccurate reporting undermines the confidence of the public with regard to social workers, challenges their professionalism, and increases risks for the vulnerable population (Supper et al. 2015). In most serious case reviews, the media has repeatedly taken the matter head on and went ahead to find someone on whom to lay the blame beyond those who actually neglected or abused the victims (Jones 2013). In an effort to evade the blame that inevitably follows every serious case review, professionals may decide to undertake their tasks in isolation to ensure perfection in their respective fields. Consequently, opportunities for intervention are missed, mistakes occur, improper, inadequate, and inaccurate judgments are made, and the situation becomes worse than it would have been if effective collaboration had occurred. 

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Inter-professional collaboration is a particularly challenging concept, both in practice and theory, and if influenced by a broad array of socio-cultural contexts within which health providers operate. The collaboration between professionals is one of the primary determinants of the success, safety, and quality of healthcare interventions, especially due to the recent shift towards holistic and client-oriented care models. Despite the growing emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, these efforts are often supported, frustrated, or made increasingly difficult by various factors that may either impede or enhance such processes. Indeed, research has categorized these factors into three large categories, including human factors, perceptions of organizational factors, and the professionals’ stances towards teamwork and collaboration. Moreover, socio-cultural factors play the most significant role in collaborative efforts, of which healthcare providers and social workers need to be well aware to allow them to rework their conventional models of collaboration. More specifically, these professionals need to acknowledge and identify the social, personal, and professional issues that may either support or hinder effective service delivery and user experiences. 

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