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Medical, Social and Human Rights Models of Care

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Health And Social Care
Wordcount: 2292 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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In my essay I will examine the case study of Mary and how her life would be different in 1955 (medical model), 1995 (social model) and in 2018 (human rights). I will also explain what the medical and social model is, and what kind of life Mary would have in 1955, 1995 and 2018 due to her condition and the benefits she would have or will not have.


1955 (Medical model): Mary is a 23-year-old woman who has autism or is mentally ill. In this time, the terminology used for Mary’s condition would be mentally handicapped, idiot, imbecile, retarded, abnormal or feeble- minded. (David Loughnane, 2013). Since doctors didn’t understand autism at that time, children and adults who had autism were grouped with people who had schizophrenia or psychosis. (NCBI Bonnie Evans, 2014).

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“There was a difference between idiots, lunatics and imbeciles. Idiots, originally termed ‘natural fools’, had a permanent condition of absence of understanding. They had no lucid intervals. Lunatics, termed non compos mentis, ‘acquired their lack of reasoning after birth and could have lucid intervals when their mental thought process appeared to be rational’. Imbecile was a new category for anyone who had acquired a permanent cognitive impairment after birth – a traumatic brain injury, encephalitis, meningitis, or poisoning by toxins. The imbecile’s mental condition was considered not as profound as that of an idiot. Idiots and imbeciles today are recognized as degrading terms and are viewed as offensive. With this new attitude by the health professionals toward the idiots, lunatics and imbeciles, life improved.” (Caroline Howe, 2017).

The type of life Mary would have had in 1955 was a very isolated one. The institutions or asylums were based on workhouse prisons where the practices from the prisons were used rather from the healthcare system. This meant that some patients were chained by the hands under their knees making it harder from it walk or they were put into straitjackets. She lives in a disability institution where she is forced to sleep in a room with nineteen other people. She is been isolated from the outside world like the rest of the people in the institution are. She has no independence or have any choose in the institution as she can not go out to shop, socialize with other people that can help her communicate better and understand the world better, go out for a walk or cook food since the institution thinks the residents need to stay away from the kitchen for safety reasons. (Brendan Kelly, 2017).

The type of model that was used in this time was the medical model. The medical model which is popular in the 1955’s is a model that involves the disability to be a personal problem rather than a social one. The medical model was used to look at the disability that a person had and not what they needed in life to support or help themselves. By telling people that they have a disability makes them less human and less part of society, they will start to lose their confidence, impendence, choice and control over their own life’s. Since the medical model was about the segregation and treatment which led to institutional services detached from communities. Before workhouses, asylums and intuitions started to become a thing in Ireland. Many elderly and people with disabilities were cared for at home by their families. After the workhouses, asylums and intuitions became in placed, they all had one thing in common which was the separation of people with disability and the outside world. From being cared for at home by the people that loved them to a cold and isolated building that may be over crowed by patients and are now trapped making them to become depressed, suicidal and insane.

1995 (Social Model): Mary is a 23-year-old woman who has autism. The life that Mary is living in 1995 is in a residential care with other people. She will be living in a unit with three or four more other people. The residential care was created to give people with disabilities and who lived in institutions the life of a normal person as possible. They did this by creating a community that had units or small apartments with three or four people living together in the unit. Even though Mary is no longer living in an institution where she couldn’t do anything fun or go outside when she wanted to. The residential care helps to give some form of freedom to its residents and choose but not as much as a normal person would still have.

There were four types of services or specific organisations that helped after 1940’s. They were NCBI (National Council for the blind Ireland), NAD (National Agrochemical Distributors), CRC (Central Remedial Clinic) and IWA (Irish Wheelchair Association). By the 1995, doctors understood autism a bit more than they did in 1955.

The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives. (AFI n.d). In 1995, the language used around disability has changed by this time. The preferred term in the UK that was influenced by disable people movements is disabled people. The social model approach led to the separation of disability from impairment, shifting the focus from individual to the oppressive structure of society. (Colin Cameron, 2014).

The Social Model of Disability is a response to the more individualised and “normative” Medical Model of Disability. The Social Model shifts the focus from reshaping the impaired individual, to reshaping society (in terms of things like society’s response, attitudes and accommodation of those impaired persons). It defines disability in reference to how much society is accommodating the affected individuals, rather than as something defined by the condition the person has. (Autism & Oughtisms, 2011).

It does not necessarily come together with a complete reframing of the impairment carried by the individual, by which I mean, you can still identify an objective and serious impairment held by the individual yet use a Social Model approach to what to do about it and how to talk about it. It may do though; various movements will and do deny existing definitions – and even existence – of the impairments that lead to disability, completely denying current terms and groupings and diagnostic criteria used to identify the conditions affecting people in the first place. This line of thinking will also challenge uses of the terms like “impairment” at all, choosing instead to completely redefine the condition as one only created by societal attitudes towards these people as “other” and unwanted. (Autism & Oughtisms, 2011).

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Similarly, the Social Model of Disability doesn’t necessarily come together with saying the only correct response to a challenged person is to alter society and everyone else rather than the individual them self (for example, they may say society must be more accommodating but also there must be medical and therapy interventions for the best of the affected individual). Again though, some do take that more extreme approach, saying that the affected individual should not have to change or be forced to change at all; that it is only society (everyone else) who must be expected to change, in attitudes and accommodation towards those seemingly affected by a disability. (Autism & Oughtisms, 2011).

2018 (Human Rights):Mary is a 23-year-old autistic woman who is living in an apartment in Dublin city. After living in a residential care unit most of her life, Mary is now living in her own apartment independently. After Mary left the residential care, she wanted to live in her own apartment and go to college to become a maths teacher. For Mary to accomplish her goals she would need some help from her families, friends and peers to get her goals in place.

Human rights are about how human are treated, their freedom and fairness. It recognises the freedom to makes choices in our lives and develop as humans. Human rights are about living a normal life without fear, harassment, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. There are nine areas that the human rights are developed on which are education, assembly, association, movement, religion, speech, information, press and thought.

Human rights include due process rights, equality rights, economic rights, security rights, liberty rights and political rights. Due process rights are the protection against abusing the legal system such as arrest or imprisonment without a trail. Equality rights is about equal citizenship and equality in front of the law and non-discrimination. Economic rights require the right to an education, paid holidays and protection against poverty and starvation. Security rights is about the safety and the prohibits of crime like murder. Liberty rights protects the freedom to travel, speech and religion. Political rights protect the freedom to participate in politics by expressing themselves, protesting and participating.  Human rights are Universal, Inalienable, Indivisible and Interdependent.

Universal and inalienable: The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems. All States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting consent of States which creates legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights norms enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations. Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law. (Office Of The Commissioner, n.d.).

Interdependent and indivisible: All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education, or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others. (Office Of The Commissioner, n.d.).

For Mary to be able to get an education and to get her own apartment. Her human rights must be upheld like anyone else. Her right to an education and her right to accommodation as well.

Mary can apply for a maths teacher course through the CAO or due a PLC course which is a second route into getting a job or into college. Since no one has the proper right to a free accommodation unless your homeless, Mary does have the right to move into an apartment on her own free will if she has money. She would also need additional support in college to help her with exams, studying and support for assignments.


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    Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/pages/whatarehumanrights.aspx
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