Explain key parts of relevant legislation relating to sexuality and sexual health for individuals and how this influences practice

Legislation relating to sexuality and sexual health includes:

  • The Equality Act & Human Rights Act – Individuals should not be discriminated against because of disability and should be free to make the same choices as anybody else, including those relating to sexuality
  • The Mental Capacity Act – Until proven otherwise, an individual should be considered capable of the capacity to make their own choices
  • Sexual Offences Act – Outlines what is considered a sexual offence
  • Genital Mutilation Act – makes genital mutilation unlawful
  • Abortion Act – legislation regarding abortions

Legislation sets out what is lawful and unlawful as well as making it clear that everyone has the basic freedom of free choice. However, in practice, it can be confusing for people with learning disabilities to understand what is legal and what is appropriate behaviour, so it is up to support workers and other health and social care professionals to provide information, education and guidance in this regard.

Write a belief account that describes examples of inclusive practice.

Inclusive practice is the practice of ensuring that all individuals are included in the services that you provide and promote their diversity and equality with respect and dignity. This could mean ensuring that you ask all clients if they would be involved in an activity and not just the ones you know will want to do it. It could also mean ensuring that there is somebody available to translate for non-english speaking clients or interpret sign language so that they can communicate with the group. In addition to staff with special training, you may to ensure you have access to specialised equipment to allow some individuals access to the same services (such as a wheelchair or pictorial aids) and you may need to make changes to the environment (such as widening doorways or replacing steps with a ramp or lift).

Describe ways to maintain confidentiality in day to day communication.

You are a social care worker and a service user, Hannah, tells you that she is unhappy taking her new medication.  She thinks she does not need it and so she is throwing it away. You know from her care plan that Hannah does need to take the take the medication regularly and gets confused. Hannah begs you to keep this confidential and not tell anyone especially her daughter, who she sees regularly, as her daughter will be very angry.

Day-to-day, confidentiality can be maintained by being mindful of how personal information is stored and discussed.

Personal records and documentation should be kept in a secure place where it can’t be accessed by the public or non-permitted individuals.

Discussions about individuals should only be done in private, where there is no risk of being overheard by others. Personal information should only be discussed with others on a need-to-know basis.

Personal information that is stored in digital format should only be on secure, password-protected devices and, again, only people that have authorisation should have access to it.

Envelopes and letters should be marked as Private & Confidential.

Identify local services that exist to support sexual health for individuals

There are a few local services that exist to support sexual health for individuals in addition to local GP surgeries. There is a Sexual Health Clinic in Nuneaton that offers contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, chlamydia screening and general advice and information about sexual health. They also offer C-Cards, which allow the holders to get free condoms (although this is only available to young people). There is a Contraceptive Service, which provides contraception and pregnancy testing. Finally, there is also a GUM clinic at the hospital which offers full STI testing.

Write a reflective account describing: How your personal preferences, attitudes, heritage and beliefs might impact on working practice. How to ensure that your own practice is inclusive and respects the beliefs, culture, values and preferences of individuals.

As a Buddhist layman, my beliefs are those of loving kindness and gentleness and it is regarded as unskillful practice for me to harm or be involved in the harm of living creatures. Although I do eat meat, I do not believe in the killing or harming of animals for sport.

In contradiction to my own beliefs, I support a client who is an active angler and requires support to go fishing. Consequently I had to wrestle with my own values to be able to support him to do what he enjoys and what is a big part of his life. My only other option was to cease working with this client, which I didn’t want to do as I had a strong bond with him and felt I was making a positive impact on his life. I came to the conclusion that on a professional level, it was my duty to support him in his activities as long as they are legal and safe, and to respect my client’s beliefs and traditions despite what my own beliefs may be. I also felt that it would be wrong to share my own beliefs with him because that might make him feel excluded from going fishing when I was on shift.

Describe the possible tensions that may arise between telling others of Hannah’s decision and keeping this information totally confidential.

You are a social care worker and a service user, Hannah, tells you that she is unhappy taking her new medication.  She thinks she does not need it and so she is throwing it away. You know from her care plan that Hannah does need to take the take the medication regularly and gets confused. Hannah begs you to keep this confidential and not tell anyone especially her daughter, who she sees regularly, as her daughter will be very angry.

Hannah may be upset with me for breaking confidentiality, resulting in her being less open or friendly with me in future. If Hannah’s daughter was to find out that Hannah hasn’t been taking her medication, she may get angry which could cause tension between mother and daughter. Hannah may also blame me for this.

If I kept this information totally confidentiality, it would result in tensions between myself, my managers and my co-workers as they would, quite rightly, assume I cannot do my job properly and cannot be trusted. I would also expect to receive a disciplinary at the very least. If Hannah’s health were to deteriorate as a result of not taking her medication, her family and friends would not be happy with me. I could also be charged by the police for neglect.

Explain how sexual health issues can be supported with plans for healthcare

Like all other facets of an individual’s health, sexual health should be assessed and planned. Information about sexual health should be readily available to individuals and it should be in a form that they can understand.

Support plans should be put in place to provide the necessary information. This should be done in alliance with other health and social care professionals such as doctors, psychologists and care workers.

The Department of Health provides a Health Action Plan for all individuals with learning disabilities. Two copies are made; one for the individual and the other for their GP. They can be obtained by asking a doctor or nurse and are filled in jointly by the individual and a health professional. As well as containing information about eating healthily and exercise there will also me information about sexual health as it pertains to the individual.

Plans can include doing research about sexual health, going to workshops or classes or obtaining information from a health professional.

Give two examples of how you could raise awareness of diversity, equality and inclusion.

There are many ways to raise awareness of diversity, equality and inclusion.

For example, I could print several copies of the leaflet I made for Task Bi and distribute them throughout my company.

I also promote diversity, equality and inclusion in my day-to-day role as support worker, so colleagues others can learn about these topics by observing my behaviour. I am also happy to talk to individuals about these topics and their importance as well as standing up to individuals that are discriminatory.

How would you explain the term ‘confidentiality’ to Hannah?

You are a social care worker and a service user, Hannah, tells you that she is unhappy taking her new medication.  She thinks she does not need it and so she is throwing it away. You know from her care plan that Hannah does need to take the take the medication regularly and gets confused. Hannah begs you to keep this confidential and not tell anyone especially her daughter, who she sees regularly, as her daughter will be very angry.

As an individual, Hannah has the right to choose whether or not she takes her medication but because her care plan states she needs to take the medication regularly, I would explain to her that I have a duty-of-care to disclose the fact that she has not been taking it. I would explain that if she were to get ill from not taking the medication, I would feel awful and could get in trouble for not telling anybody.

I would continue by saying that I respect her privacy and would reassure her that I would only tell the people that need-to-know (my manager, her G.P etc.) and would not tell her daughter directly if she didn’t want me to.

Describe how your own values, beliefs and personal experiences might affect your working practice.

Differing values, beliefs and personal experiences between people can affect the way they feel around one another and can lead to conflict, however it is important to respect the views of others  and try not to let it interfere with working practice. For example, I have a strong belief that fishing is a cruel sport and really do detest it, however I have still supported clients to go fishing on many occasions because otherwise I would be depriving them of the liberty to make their own choices. I have also worked with individuals that have done some very despicable things in their past but I try not to judge them and treat them with the same compassion that I give everybody. It is also important for me not to treat those that do share similar values and beliefs to me more favourably than those that don’t. By being non-judgmental and compassionate, I am able to communicate well with individuals and learn to understand other people’s point of view, which in turn helps reduce conflict and increase compromise.