Caroline Green is Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, King’s College London. (709 words)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of human rights for people needing care and support in care homes or at home, their carers, families and friends became evident. Care home residents, especially people with dementia, were one of the groups who were and still are most severely affected by the virus, with thousands of deaths from a COVID-19 infection not only in England but many countries around the world. The need to protect people requiring care and support and to balance infection control – thus the basic rights to health and life – with the right to a private and family life and to social participation was but one of many examples of a human rights issue that we as a society had to face during this pandemic. Conversations around these topics are often difficult.
Human rights as enshrined in international and national law, notably the Human Rights Act, are directly relevant to people requiring care and support, service providers and care workers. Not only is every human being entitled to have his or her rights respected, protected and implemented but the English legal and regulatory system for care providers also makes them directly relevant in care settings. However, human rights are more than a legal concept. They are also a moral concept, which can help to build a social care system and determine the way care is provided. Human rights in social care is therefore a broad topic, with many different ways of approaching it in conversations, training and research.
In order to help you start or pick up your own reflective journey on human rights in conversation or learning by yourself or with others, we are making available a toolkit comprising a personality test, a pocket card game and a creative page to be downloaded or ordered as physical copies.
In each case, the tools below are available as a pdf and online.
The Personality Test – (online version). Have you ever wondered what kind of ‘human rights in care homes’ personality type you are? Find out whether you are a reformist, a lawyer, a practitioner or a visionary – or perhaps a mix of them – and use the outcome of the test to reflect on what human rights really mean to you in care homes and social care. Online
The ‘Who am I’ creative page – (online version). Writing, drawing and colouring in are ways to relax and reflect. The ‘Who am I’ creative page gives you the opportunity to reflect and think about what human rights mean to you as a concept by describing a person called ‘Human Rights’ with words, colours and pictures. Prompts will guide you on this journey.
The Human Rights Story Dice Game – (online version). Roll the dice to start of your human rights story telling. Using cards and dice with prompts, you can explore human rights in your work or private life together with colleagues, service users or even by yourself. You can print this tool and cut out the cards and dice. This game is also available as a physical pocket version.
These exercises can be used prior to any training, meeting or workshop to start a conversation on the topic of human rights in social care and/or care homes. They can also be completed privately, for example before embarking on research.
The tools were co-produced by ARC South London’s social care Post-doctoral fellow Dr Caroline Green together with Dr Edel Roddy at My Home Life Scotland, Dr Belinda Dewar at Wee Culture, Carlyn Miller at the British Institute of Human Rights and Dr Kritika Samsi of ARC South London. The tools are based on the findings of Caroline’s PhD study on human rights in care homes for older people and particularly her findings that there are many ways of approaching the topic (the PhD study is available to read here).
The co-production was funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration slingshot fund. They are available for anyone working with, teaching or talking about human rights in social care and beyond to download and use.
Get in touch with Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further information. We would also highly appreciate your feedback on the tools, which are still a work in progress. Please note the tools are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without acknowledgement.
Green, C. (2020) ‘The potential role of human rights and the right to privacy in the context of English care homes for older people’, King’s College London, London.