Vulnerability In Health Care

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When considering and discussing vulnerability, it is important to immediately acknowledge that any person entering a healthcare setting for treatment and care puts themselves in a vulnerable position. However, the perception of vulnerability greatly differs from person to person dependant on experience and individual factors (Phillips, 1992). As such there is a continuum of vulnerability that encompasses a myriad of factors such as potential, circumstance, permanence and inevitability (Copp, 1986) As a nurse, it is vital that we consider, understand and assess all factors relating to the patient with regards treatment and advocacy in relation to their care plans and beyond. Vulnerability refers to the difficulty or inability of an individual…show more content…
They are dependent on others to fulfil their care and needs, as well as having those around them that can speak on their behalf, usually with parents acting as their advocates. A lack of cognitive development and worldly experience also has the potential to create distress and anxiety within a healthcare setting (Rogers, 1997). This is different from a safeguarding perspective where a child abuse victim is immediately considered vulnerable from an entirely different and additional set of circumstances (Royal College of Nursing, 2014). Abuse victims will become psychologically vulnerable through their experience and, as a result, require a great deal of empathy and sensitivity to care for not just their immediate medical needs, but the, potentially, longer lasting psychological trauma as well (Scanlon & Lee,…show more content…
As proven in the above example, the breadth and depth of a patient’s vulnerability is in the eye of the beholder, and indeed, varies between health professionals with no single clear definition (Spiers, 2000). Regardless of individual and professional perspective it is generally agreed that when a patient is ill or a victim of mishap, they are at greater risk of harm by a diminished ability to care for themselves which, in turn, increases their state of vulnerability (Sellman, 2005). However, a multidisciplinary healthcare team benefits from a wide spectrum of perspectives which allows for a broad and true understanding of a patient’s individual needs. This is vital in creating and implementing a truly holistic care

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