A physical impairment refers to a dysfunction that limits an individual’s ability to move. Physical impairments limit the academic capability of individuals. In addition, physical impairments are either acquired or congenital. Impairments are medicinally diagnosed. In contrast, disability depicts an individual’s limitation or loss of an opportunity to get involved in the usual community life on the same level with the rest because of social or physical hindrances. The definition of a physical impairment relates to the perceptions of the society regarding an individual’s potential. The unequal circumstances and classification of people guided by their physical impairment opens ways for discrimination. (Barnes 2009).
There are varied definitions of physical impairments depending on different contexts. Most definitions assume that difficulties and challenges faced by the persons with disabilities arise from individual sensory, physical and intellectual impairments. However, these assumptions have been opposed by the organizations that champion for the rights of people with disabilities. In addition, the persons with physical impairments have launched counter campaigns against the undue definitions. Notably, the definition issue poses crucial implications on how the disabled regard themselves (Barnes 2009). Also, service provision to the disabled is dependent on the basic understanding of the concept. Ironically, in the UK, the government’s efforts to meet the needs of the physically impaired hang on a balance.
Physical impairments vary broadly. The disabilities include; cardiovascular, orthopedic, pulmonary disorders and neuromuscular malformations. The physical impairments encompass congenital disorders, lifestyle conditions and injuries. Pulmonary infection, epilepsy, and the respiratory disorders are invisible physical impairments (Gilson 2011).
The causes of physical impairments are many and can be analyzed in different age groups. There are about five chronic diseases that cause disabilities in people aged over 65years. These include; cognitive impairment, heart problems, poor vision, foot problems and arthritis. In addition, the hearing impairment, hip fracture and pulmonary infection are forms of disabilities. Old people experience a significant decline in mental and physical function due to minor insults. In such situations, a minor insult creates adverse effects in the elderly persons. There are several interlinked factors that arise from the lifestyles of people which predispose them to impairments. The major factors that predispose the elderly people to impairment include; rented housing, chronic diseases, obesity, depression, slow gait, cognitive impairment and inadequate physical activity. Cancer is becoming rampant in the world (Gilson 2011). This disease has is slowly becoming a major cause of physical disability especially in adults.
In the daily endeavors of people, accidents are common. People are physically impaired by; machines in factories, road accidents, collapse of buildings among others. Some people may recover from the injuries while others retain disabilities. However, accidents are not a major cause of impairment in the United Kingdom.
Impairments are classified on the basis of abnormalities at the body, tissue and body part levels. This classification excludes problems at cellular, tissue, molecular or sub cellular level. Impairments are seen as manifestations of the underlying pathology and not the same as the pathology itself. In addition, impairments may be; permanent or temporally, regressive or progressive and continuous or intermittent. The impairments cause disability and other conditions that impact on an individual’s participation level. Further, impairments are coded as either structure or function related.
Physically impaired individuals encounter several challenges. The challenges vary among persons. The challenges include; social exclusion, independence loss and falling phobia. The families of physically impaired persons continue to struggle in homecare provision. Discrimination from the society kills the self-esteem of physically impaired individuals. The provision of care for the physically impaired people outside their homes is stressing. It is not reasonable to provide care for people outside their places of comfort. The care homes also limit the participation of individuals in nation building endeavors. The home cares creates a perception of isolation. This is because the society devalues those in the home care centers.
People have corrupt attitudes regarding the physically disabled. It is interesting to note that some people perceive the physically disabled as safety and health risks. These attitudes are based on discriminatory perceptions perpetuates social torture against the physically impaired. The disable understand their limitations and are always willing to do their best in various circumstances
The society views impairment to be a problem facing the individual and a trouble for members of the family. This reveals the fundamental weakness of the medical disability model. The model employs a clinical mechanism to explain physical disability. The severity and nature of impairment is considered to be crucial. This model portrays a dehumanizing approach towards determination and evaluation of physical impairment. In the UK, the health professionals regard the impairment as persistent or incurable (Barton 2001). The model categorizes persons based on impairments and victimizes the individuals bearing the physical disabilities. Further, the medical model promotes unemployment, poor education and undeveloped skills among the disabled persons. The UK government’s commitment to streamline the stigmatization of individuals with physical impairment is questionable.
Disability can also be described by employing the social model. This model was constructed by the physically disabled people using their health and welfare experiences. The basis of the model was to ensure that the physically disabled do not encounter oppression and social isolation. The model countered the traditional medical model dominance. Persons with impairments are barred from participating within the society’s mainstream because of organizational, attitudinal and physical barriers. Initially, in the UK, these barriers shielded the disabled from equal information access, employment, housing and recreational activities. However, the present development in England enhances inclusion in societal participation (Mann 2006).
According to the social model, impairment is described as possession of a defective body organ or lacking the organ completely. Similarly, disability is viewed as a societal restriction from participation in a given activity by the persons who are physically impaired. These definitions have been instrumental in promoting self esteem amongst the disabled groups. In addition, the empowering description of disability led to the establishment of user-controlled associations. Organizations such as CILs have facilitated the promotion of confidence among the impaired people. Further, the organizations for persons with impairments have initiated beneficial changes in the social policy adopted by the UK, government.
The social model centers on the barriers that people face because of their impairments. For instance, in the circumstances of a wheelchair-user failing to use the stairs, then there must be a stair lift for that person to use. For the blind, audio information should be provided as an alternative to written information. Barriers can be overcome through the provision of considerable adjustments. In addition, discrimination on the basis of physical disabilities can be abolished by eradicating the barriers. The focus of the perpetual concept of physical disability is malicious and aims at marginalizing the disabled on unfair basis (Barnes 2004).
The theory of normalization poses an argument that persons who have physical disabilities are stigmatized and devalued by the community. This creates a complex devalued identity circle that is strengthened by poor services. The concept of normalization is based on the belief that once it is applied it will improve the lifestyle qualities of those with physical difficulties. Eventually, the socially devalued persons with physical disabilities will join with the more valued people free from disabilities. It is crucial to assess the normalization theory via the social disability model. Normalization allows the experts in society to continue offering community care (Barnes 2004). However, the theory of normalization has not been accepted by the organizations of the physically disabled. The physically disabled people have also expressed their discontent with the normalization theory. Normalization keeps the relationship between users and professionals intact. The theory caters for professionals’ concerns without due consideration of the social and economic context. For this reason, the theory is biased towards service provision. Normalization stigma and labeling imply that skills are taught to people in order to allow them associate with those highly regarded in the social ladder. Serious implications arise from the normalization theory (Barnes 2004).
Firstly, normalization leads to direct acceptance of the stigmatized identities concept. This is because there is disregard of stigmatization as an element within the social context. This represents a force that the socially, politically and economically empowered people exerts on the less privileged. Secondly, normalization emphasizes on the devalued person’s social behavior and seeks to alter it in a direction that enhances relationships with non-disabled socially valued individuals. The encouragement of physically disabled to interact and socially mix with non-disabled while disregarding the stigmatized identities makes normalization theory defective. Further, identification of people having physical disabilities and viewing them as problems to be avoided kills the possibility of unanimous action.
Person-centered planning approach (PCP) is a strategy which the governments of the UK, have adopted to streamline delivery and development of social care services. The social and health care services are targeted to benefit the physically disabled. PCP is a problem solving process that is in progress and aims at assisting the physically disabled persons to plan their lives (Barnes 2004). Additionally, PCP relies on the commitment of the specialist individuals that have been assigned roles to provide care for the disabled people.
Services and support systems have undergone through progressive development in the UK. In the past, social care involved funding family members to care for persons with disabilities. The social care also included; clothing, health care and regular weekly payments. This enabled the physically disabled persons to remain in their homes. However, this support acted as a source of stigma to the physically impaired. They received separate care that involved public funding (Holt 2004). This stratification and separation from the society devalued the people with physical disabilities.
Traditionally, individuals obtained support in the care institutions and almshouses. The care centers were managed by voluntary and faith organizations (Mann 2006). Services were provided at a fee for those who could afford. During the 20th century, community care services were provided by voluntary organizations. In addition, there were several voluntary hospitals that offered free treatment to the poor. The disabled and older persons received reasonable family care. However, the care received was limited. The limited social care is better explained by the high numbers of infant mortality and unmarried adults. In the 1950’s, out-patient treatment replaced the in-patient treatment. These changes resulted from the need to curb the effects on the physically disabled people due to long-term care. Additionally, out-patient system was aimed at reducing the institutional costs on care provision. Also, the local authorities provided recreational workshops and meals for the people with physical impairments (Mann 2006).
Presently, people with physical disabilities have been given relatively more attention. There are significant improvements in the quality of care services. In 2002, approximately 3.1 million home care contact hours were offered to about 366759households (Mann 2006).Also, the government and the private sector have played a recognizable role by establishing children homes, rehabilitation centers and catering for education. Funds that are used to effect the provision of social care are provided by the government via local taxation. The central government disburses money to local authorities for the implementation of social care plans.
Services rendered to persons with intellectual impairment are regionally varied in England. This is because of the differences in the quality and amount of services available to various health or local authorities. Small groups and individuals obtain support services at home level (Barnes 2009). Under circumstances in which individuals with learning disabilities live together, service provision is done by the personal assistants of home care providers. Additionally, this system of service delivery ranges from occasional visits to intensive assistance packages. Regular support is offered in the home care traditional residential in considerably small group sizes. People with physical disabilities have complex behavior and additional needs as opposed to the other members in the society (Barnes 2009). Such persons are provided with specialist care services. The specialist services are provided by the independent health centers. The hospitals offer expert intervention and assessment with the help of health professionals. Persons with disabilities obtain preventive and treatment health services without bias. Registering a disability is not a requirement to access the health services. The independent living fund (ILF) gives finances to persons with disabilities for personal and domestic care support.
There are various organizations that tackle the issues of persons with disabilities in the UK. They include; Alzheimer’s societies, Arthritis care, Assist UK, Back care among others. The disability organizations play an oversight role to ensure that the concerns of the disabled people are catered for by the government. The organizations also play a crucial role in providing support services such as financial grants that promote the care and service delivery (Mann 2006). The children with physical disabilities are given free education. The increase in the number of the physically disabled people’s organization reflects exclusion consequences and the unfair practices. In contrast, some of the organizations that advocate for the rights of people with impairments have become a let-down. These organizations are driven by the profit making motive rather than championing for social care.
The physically disabled people in the UK are supported through the provision of various services that allow them to live like the other members of the society. These types of services are contained in the independent living program (Mann 2006). There is several service providing organizations in England that are under the control and management of the physically disabled persons. The government promotes coordination among the local authorities and the user-led organizations to ensure proper service care for the needy. The ULOs lack proper distribution across the UK. The services provided include; counseling, information, technical aids, personal assistance, housing, access and transport. However, there is no organization that provides all the service (Barnes 2009).
Integrated care is also used in enhancing the process of social care in the UK. It involves integrating management with inputs and organizational services. Social care and health integration is common in the UK. This is because of the need to address the chronic ailments that face the aging groups. Integration of health services with social care is facilitated by partnerships and joint transitioning. Agreements of the local areas play a significant role in enhancing personalization services and service integration. Partnerships advance integration.
The English governments have carried out major amendments to the physically disability Act. In 1995, the discrimination of disabled persons in employment, premises management and provisional of services was abolished. The legislation compels service providers to adopt considerable and essential adjustments that are necessary to easy the utilization of services by the physically disabled persons. This original act has been subject to several amendments. For instance, secondary legislation was passed in 2003. Also; the act has been amended by primary legislation. In 2005, the discrimination act was adopted. The several amendments on the discrimination act have been instrumental in providing the extension of the Act’s scope (Lawson 2008).
Recently, the 2010equality act was enacted. This act sought to provide a streamlined anti-discrimination law in the United Kingdom. Also, the act expanded the scope of protection of people with disabilities. In addition, the act brought changes in the public authorities regarding the inclusion of disabled persons in decisions concerning policy formulation. In 2009, another crucial bill was enacted into law. The 2009 welfare reform act and the 2009 health act served to expand the choices of persons with disabilities (Barton 2001).
Despite the developments witnessed in coordinated efforts and legislation provisions, the needs of persons with disabilities have not been streamlined. There are serious concerns regarding the benefit reforms and funding cuts in the personal budgets. Also, the social barriers that hinder the access of transport, housing and employment for the physically disabled persons need to be exterminated.
In conclusion, the efforts that the government of the UK has made in addressing the needs of physically impaired people are not adequate. The society still devalues the physically impaired. Therefore, proper legislation needs to be effected to streamline provision of services to the needs of the physically disabled.
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