On the other hand the care givers were trained to offer services to the users irrespective of how they felt about the service. Slowly, in a number of western societies there is a growing trend to change the approach. The users are given more say in the manner they want to be treated. This is understandable considering that they are suffers and know better where the shoe pinches. Their opinions have for a long period of time been overlooked by the authorities (Banks, 2006). To address this issue is both a challenge and an opportunity for delivery of better services.
There have been attempts in the recent past to have involvement of service users in health and care services. The consumer of social service is perceived just like a consumer of any other type of commercial service. This means that he or she is obliged to have a choice, quality service, and value for money and even an avenue to complain (Thompson, 2009). There is much emphasis on the necessity to have knowledge about the exact needs of the users based on research. It is not only advocating for participation or involvement of the users but a greater empowerment. In this the power and control of the professionals is surrendered to the users. There are given a chance to control and run the services. This form of service delivery is rear and may not be realized soon. Nevertheless attempts are being made to let the user gain more information, knowledge and skills regarding the power being bestowed on him.
Such a venture can prove challenging to the users and those trying to emancipate them. Most of the users are ignorant, disabled, unfit physically and in majority cases with a low self esteem. To involve them is delivery of service will require much assurance, patience and friendliness from the workers (Munday, 2007). It is for this reason that training has been initiated for both the users and social workers. This training enables them to better understand one another and work in collaboration.
Merits of Involvement of the Users
There are a number of reasons why the involvement of users in providing service is vital. The most important factor is to have services reflect on the preferences and needs of the users. Similarly the users also have to be able to participate in decision making regarding the delivery of the service. The latter reason is important in the sense that the users gain more control over their lives. There are also made to be flexible hence able to respond to various needs at appropriate time. Besides, the people will be able to unite as a group, identify with one another and speak with one voice. In this way they guarantee to give a new perspective and approach to tackle social issues. The involvement of the users is also essential in a sense as their input will be used in reports and other documents. As a result most of the materials meant for this purpose become understandable to other service users, members of the public and providers of services.
Though there are those who see the involvement of users as a challenge to the workers, it can actually lighten their work. Once social workers and users trust each other and work together it becomes easy to deliver the services. It is easy to satisfy someone who responds and gives directions on how he or she wants to be served. The social workers