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3.2 Health and the middle class

In contrast, a study which focused on white, middle-class men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 (Saltonstall, 1993) found that respondents' views of health were closely connected to wellbeing, and this condition of being was related to ‘capacity, performance and function’ (p. 8). Saltonstall reports that the respondents, both male and female, catalogued what he called a ‘health inventory’ which included things they felt they had and things they thought they were expected to do t
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3.1 Health and low income

Health is a very personal matter, but people's health is very much situated in their life experiences and so their perceptions of health are likely to reflect their social situation.

Bostock (1998), a health researcher, interviewed mothers who were managing on low incomes to find out about their perceptions of their health. She was struck by the difference between her respondents' self-assessed health status compared to that found by the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) which relat
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2 Accounting for health

Until relatively recently most of the information available to us about how people think about health and illness was concerned with non-Western societies. There was a time when a search in a good anthropological library in Britain would reveal more about the everyday health beliefs of the peoples of, say, African, Asian or South American countries than could be discovered about the everyday health beliefs of the people of the British Isles. Good (1994), in his book Medicine, Rationality a
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1.4 A community resource centre in action

It is clear that the well-being of communities and the well-being of the individuals within them are intrinsically linked. The Orchard Centre is a community resource centre for people with mental health problems in Bonnyrigg in Midlothian, Scotland.

Figure 1
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1.2 Boundaries between mental health and illness

Activity 1: What is mental ‘health’?

0 hours 20 minutes

What do you think it means if someone is described as ‘mentally healthy’? Think of all the different ways of describing ‘mental he
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1.6.2 Treating alcohol-related liver disorders

Although considerable progress has been made in the treatment of many other chronic medical conditions, scant progress has been made in the treatment of cirrhosis. In over 8000 people admitted to hospitals in the Oxford region of the UK with liver cirrhosis during a 30-year observation period, 34 per cent had died one year after their admission and this death rate remained more or less constant (Roberts et al., 2005).

The largely pessimistic view of the failure of treatment of liver dam
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1.5 Fetal alcohol syndrome

There are a range of disorders associated with maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy which are collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, FASDs. The best characterised is fetal alcohol syndrome, FAS. FAS is defined by four criteria, the first of which is excessive maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy, the other three being:

  1. a characteristic pattern of minor facial abnormalities and other malformations (in particu
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1.4 Nervous-system damage

Chronic consumption of high levels of alcohol can cause irreversible damage to the nervous system. The majority of people with chronic alcoholism have some degree of dementia, which is a general loss of intellectual abilities including memory, judgement and abstract thinking, as well as personality changes. The general effect seems to be a shrinkage of brain tissue, as revealed by brain imaging techniques (Author(s): The Open University

1.2.2 Psychological and sleep disturbances

The severity of hangover symptoms has also been associated with particular personality traits. For example, some research has indicated that individuals with personality traits that predispose them to a risk of alcoholism, experience more severe hangover symptoms than other people.

Although alcohol acts as a sedative, the sleep it induces can be of poorer quality and shorter duration than normal. Ethanol interferes with the action of key neurotransmitters, in particular GABA and glutama
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • describe the effects that ethanol in the blood has on the body – specifically the effect on drivers’ judgement at blood-alcohol concentrations near the legal limit for driving and the serious effects of blood-alcohol concentrations in excess of 200 mg/100 ml;

  • describe the short-term effects experienced following excessive alcohol consumption. Comment on the relationship between these complex effects and ethanol m
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:


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7.6 Conclusion

This extract has emphasised the importance of becoming familiar with the framework of learning outcomes within which your progress would be assessed.

It is imperative for you to be an active learner and take responsibility for what you want and need to get out of your studies. You willl achieve this through reflection on the process of your practice learning experiences and feedback from those involved in assessing your progress.


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7.4.1 Employers and employees

As a student on a professional social work qualification programme, you would need to sign up to the codes of practice as part of registration with your nation's care council. Codes of practice have been devised for all the nations of the UK. In principle they have much in common, providing a clear guide for all those who work in social care, social work or social services generally. They set out the standards of practice that both workers and their employers should meet. While there is much
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7.3 Key roles of social work

The internationally agreed key purpose is, as we have seen, a broad statement that is open to debate. It encapsulates a wide brief for social work. You may well want at this stage to focus in more detail on what it is you will need to do to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to become a qualified social worker in the UK. The key purpose of social work was used as a basis for the development of a number of roles for social workers in the UK and these form part of the overall frameworks used
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5.7 References for Extract 4

Barn, R. (1999) Working with Black Children and Adolescents in Need, London, BAAF.

Butler-Sloss, E. (1988) Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland, London, HMSO.

Department of Health (2000) Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, London, Department of Health.

Gardner, R. (2003) Supporting Families: Child Protection in the Community, Chichester, John Wiley.

James, A. and Prout, A. (1997) Constructin
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5.6 Final words

While social work knowledge, skill and experience can make a difference to a family, the contexts in which we practise create the processes which, more than anything else, determine the life chances of us all. Whether social work always contributes to the solution of problems or sometimes actually adds to the problems that some families face is a debate which has existed as long as social work itself. On a more optimistic note, in the end, the vast majority of parents will want to do their be
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5.4 Involving children

The other key person to be consulted is the child herself. Although Jade's ability or willingness to communicate may vary in different contexts, her understanding will remain and for most children this understanding is well in advance of what they are able to communicate verbally. This has important implications and Jade should therefore be included in conversations, even if she does not appear to be participating.

A greater understanding of ways in which to communicate effectively, eve
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5.1 Children's rights

Initial information about the Palmer family

The story of the Palmer family is presented in the audio below, and it provides material about working with families. The case study is a dramatic presentation of a reconstituted family consisting of three generations living in the same household. During th
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4.3 What about communities?

The last activity looked at the key roles from the perspective of Lynne and Arthur as individuals, but in fact it also says that working with ‘families, carers, groups and communities’ is necessary. Do you think that Dev should also be taking account of the Durrants as a family, as carers and as members of a community? Dev's role in assessing Arthur's needs means that he should also take account of his family circumstances, in other words, Lynne and perhaps her sister. Lynne also has a ca
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4.1 Introduction: the social context of social work

Extract 1 discussed the four components of good practice: Knowledge, Skills, Values and Process. From Extract 2 you will now have an understanding of ‘individual people’ in soci
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