How Service User Involvement Can Help Address Power Imbalances Within Health And Social Care

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This essay will explore ways in which service user involvement can help to address power imbalances within health and social care. Service user involvement will be defined and the different ways which power is imbalanced will be analysed including shared decision making, citizenship and participation. The restrictions and barriers to involvement like social exclusion, communication issues and culture of services will also be scrutinised. Theories from Forcait, Illich and Arnstein alongside themes from the related article - ‘Service users’ experiences of participation in decision making in mental health services’ will be considered to show how service user involvement may address power imbalances. A conclusion will be found as to what helps…show more content…
People can complain or seek other advice or even refuse services. Some experiences of power in this setting could be unfair and this may be due to an imbalance of power between professionals and service users, balancing out power in these situations is extremely important. Things that effect power imbalance include choice, knowledge and participation. The article refers to the results from the research shows difficulties of being involved and still feeling like the ‘underdog’ they felt they weren’t being taken seriously as they had a mental health condition.
It can be a positive or negative effect, having and using power depending on how it is controlled by the individual. Positive effect is to facilitate treatment and negative is preventing access to services, due to pre-existing conditions such as mental health. Power and control operate on varying levels and service users may recognise that the professionals due to their knowledge and expertise have the power. Social and cultural expectations can affect balance of power in health. Peterson and Bunton stated that there was a desire to identify, control and eliminate disease’ (2000, pg 9). In conjunction with the growth of medicine and science came the medical model. This approach focuses on the individual having dysfunction and treating identified health issues. Welshman suggested it was created to respond to socially upsetting or disruptive phenomena’ (2006, pg 9). The
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