Further Education Health and Social Care Higher Education

Health and Social Care – Benefits of Active Participation

This blog is for candidates studying Levels 2 and 3 of the Health and Social Care Diploma, BTEC Health and Social Care, Dementia Care units and other courses relevant to the field of health and social care

What is active participation?

Active participation is defined by Edexcel (2010), the body that sets the specifications for the Levels 2 and 3 Health and Social Care Diplomas, as recognising an individual’s right to participate in the activities and relationships of everyday life as independently as possible; the individual is an active partner in their own care or support rather than a passive recipient.  This definition accentuates two key principles underpinning care: the rights of the individual and the independence or autonomy of the individual.

Many people who experience health and social care, especially individuals with significant needs, are marginalised, excluded and disenfranchised.  They are not given the same opportunity to have a say in how they live their lives as most other people in the general community; their choices in what they do are severely limited.

What are the benefits of active participation for the individual?

Active participation is an approach that enables individuals to be included in their care and have a greater say in how they live their life in ways that matter to them.

The benefits of active participation can be divided into primary benefits and secondary benefits.

Primary benefits include:

  1. Physical benefits including greater activity levels.
  2. Increased independence and autonomy in what people do.
  3. An opportunity for individuals in health and social care settings to have a say in matters of direct concern to their lives.
  4. Increased opportunities for social contact and interpersonal relationships.
  5. Encouraging involvement and self-awareness.  Individuals become more involved in the community and more aware of opportunities and what they can hope for themselves.
  6. Increased opportunities for learning and development of important skills, knowledge, education and employment.
  7. Enhanced well-being, with increases in self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief.

The benefits of active participation include the above primary benefits where the individual gains from its application in the real world of health and social care practice, but there are also some secondary benefits.

The secondary benefits can be described as benefits that occur as a result of active participation, but are not a direct aim of active participation.  These include:

  1. Decreasing the likelihood of abuse. As the individual engages positively by actively participating is area of their life, such as in personal care, the scope for abuse by others is reduced.
  2. Decreasing vulnerability. As individuals gain in their self-confidence and self-esteem they are less prone to exploitation and harm from others

Conclusion
Active participation is an approach that empowers individuals in the activities and relationships of everyday life leading to them living as independently as possible. The importance to the individual as an active partner in their own care or support is that it brings physical, psychological, relational and over all wellbeing benefits.

John Rowe works for the Open University and has a wealth of practice experience in health and social care settings. He is also one of the authors of Collins Keys Concepts – Health and Social Care.

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