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Personal needs Vs Community needs


Personal needs

Community needs

The needs of the person and the needs of the community

Personal needs: (Top)
There has been a great deal written about needs.
Frederick Herzberg's motivation theory
David Mcclelland achievment motivation needs theory
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

... Hierarchical:
Marslow describes needs as being hierarchical. There has been much discussion about the relationship of one need to the other needs, however, I don't think that anyone will disagree that these needs are real. A person may, or may not, have to satisfy one or more needs in order to achieve another need.

... Motivational:
Needs are often prioritised according to what we are doing, and the amount of motiviation we have in achieving that need.

Motivations can be ...
Internal: where need is more important than the activity that we are participating in.
External: where the need comes from, or is related to, the activity that we are participating in. External motivations also come from our family, where we work, our peer group, the radio and TV.

An example of the above is where I, and my family are hungry. My internal need is to eat, however the external need is to feed my family. I may choose to prioritise the needs of my family over my own needs. I may also satisfy my own need in order to have the strength etc., to satisfy the needs of my family. Whatever the motivations are, they are all designed to fulfill a particular need. Whether the need is physical or psychological, or there is a choice between fulfilling one or more needs, the reality is that nothing much happens until that particular need is fulfilled.

... Rights:
Rights are not something we should take for granted, they are not given to us on a platter. Throughout history we see that rights are fought for and the battle is ongoing to keep those rights. These so call rights can be taken away from us at any time (and often are) by the society/community in which we live. There is a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, that is put in place to protect a person's basic needs. But how often do we see these rights ignored or circumnavigated when a particular agenda of a country, community or government is propagated. Australia is just as guilty as anyone else in this respect. This happens all the time with groups of people such as the "Boat People", some ethnic groups, people that have alcohol or drug dependency problems etc. These people are generally assigned a devalued label, role or status that serves as justification for their treatment. Only by fighting for their rights can a person achieve anything. Even within hospitals, nursing homes, hostels, service organisations etc., we see these basic rights (needs) are not being met because of funding issues, staff issues, lack of skills and resources etc.

People with disability (intellectual, physical etc.) are disadvantaged in that they often need professional support in fulfilling their personal needs that are not available in the wider community. This professional support can come in any number of forms, shapes and sizes.

The Disability Services Commission (Disability WA) is in the process of developing a Disability Access and Inclusion Plan that is designed to provide a standard of service delivery, where service users receive the most appropriate care in providing the best outcomes for the person. Schedule 1 (below) is a set of principles (rights of the service user) that guide service delivery

Schedule 1 — Principles applicable to people with disabilities
1.) People with disabilities have the inherent right to respect for their human worth and dignity.
2.) People with disabilities, whatever the origin, nature, type or degree of disability, have the same basic human rights as other members of society and should be enabled to exercise those basic human rights.
3.) People with disabilities have the same rights as other members of society to realise their individual capacities for physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development.
4.) People with disabilities have the same right as other members of society to services which will support their attaining a reasonable quality of life in a way that also recognises the role and needs of their families and carers.
5.) People with disabilities have the same right as other members of society to participate in, direct and implement the decisions which affect their lives.
6.) People with disabilities have the same right as other members of society to receive services in a manner that results in the least restriction of their rights and opportunities.
7.) People with disabilities have the same right as other members of society to pursue any grievance concerning services.
8.) People with disabilities have the right to access the type of services and supports that they believe are most appropriate to meet their needs.
9.) People with disabilities who reside in rural and regional areas have a right, as far as is reasonable to expect, to have access to similar services provided to people with disabilities who reside in the metropolitan area.
10.) People with disabilities have a right to an environment free from neglect, abuse, intimidation and exploitation.
(Disability Services Commission's Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2006-2011 [DOC 639 kB])

As mentioned earlier, these service providers are communities in their own right (Characteristics of the service provider), and have their own needs in providing for the needs of its members. How the needs of the members are met, depends on how the service meets it's own needs.

... Responsibilities:
With any set of rights there is usually a set of associated responsibilities. Just because a person may have the right to decision making, for example, does not give them the right to take illegal drugs, abuse others or jump of a cliff. Just as any other member of any other community is restricted in what they can and can't do, people who live, work or participate in social activities in a community of a service provider are restricted in what they and and can't do.

Community needs: (See also: Understanding communities) (Top)
While communities are as individual as their members, they are usually organised or built around a set of principles that allows the members to participate in the community
... Access: the members must be able to access the community
... Communication: the members must be able to communicate with each other
... Presence: the members must have some sort of relationship with the other members (see themselves, and are seen, as a part of the community)
... Participation: the members must have some sort of involvement within the community

The community also needs ...
... A way of defining itself as a community
:.. An agreement between the members about what the community does and how it is to be done

These principles could be described as the characteristcits of the community.
Characteristics of a community:
... Has one or more roles that define its identity within society.
... Has a set of goals - provides a sense of direction.
... Is organised within a set of formal/informal hierarchies, beliefs, values, expectations and behaviours (institutions) that defines the boundary of the community.
... The boundary may be explicit (physical) or implicit (defined by the shared characteristics of its members).
... Has ownership of it's members.
... There is some form of communication between members.
... Has skills and resources that are shared between the members.
... Balance the needs of the community with the needs of its members.
... Often has clubs, teams, groups etc. within the community.

Communities are just like families in the sense that just because we may want something does not necessarily mean that we are going to get it. Communities are a one size fits all approach where the needs of the community come before the needs of the person. There are rules of engagement, and behaviours and expectations, rights and responsibilities that require us to fit into the community that we participate in. A community may also have a different agenda to the communities that it is a part of as well as the various communities that make up that community. As a result the outcomes of the policies of the community may be positive and beneficial to that community, and in the process, disadvantage other communities that are a part of that community. We see this in all parts of society, where the needs of one community come before the needs of other communities that are a part of the community. Within WA there are different communities that have different needs. The health community has different needs to the disability community, the mining community has different needs to the farming community and the business community has different needs to the recreation community. How do we balance the needs of the different communities that make up the society in which we live?

Communities (clubs, businesses, services and organisations etc) also have internal needs as well as external needs. This distinction has often been misunderstood, and as a result, communities often treat these needs the same way. Internal needs are essential to the community fulfilling its role in society, external needs allow the community to participate in society. While external needs are essential to the survival of the community, they are not essential to the role of the community. External needs are needs that do not need to be sourced within the community, While communication is an internal need, the type of communication used is an external need. While transportation may seem to be an internal need (to get from one place to another), it is an external need, unless the role of the community is to provide transportation. Communities that do not prioritise these needs often find that their role becomes blurred, unfocused or to generalised. This also creates a state of imbalance within its own role in society, and the roles of the other communities that it associates with in society. We see communities taking on roles that are already provided by other communities. Societies are probably responsible for this blurring of community roles. Social values, attitudes and expectations dictate government policy and practice in determining what a community can and can't do.

... Internal:
The community needs to function as a community. The principles described above allow the members to participate with each other as a community.
... presence and participation - the community must see itself as a community by its members and others within the wider community.
... space (physical or virtual) - defines the arena of the community.
... leadership - leadership defines institutions of the community.
... goals - provide a sense of direction.
... boundaries - allows the community to define itself as a community.
... safety needs - members feel that they can call on other members in times of need or when threatened.
... belongingness and love needs - ownership, shareing, affection, relationships, etc.
... esteem needs - self-esteem, values, expectations and behaviours, etc.
... self-actualization needs - empowernment, realising potential, self-fulfillment.
(Adapted from Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)

What factors influence the way the community fulfills its internal needs?
... government policy and practice - rules, regulations.
... available skills and resources within the wider community.
... relationships with other communities - how do other communities advantage or disadvantage the community?

The needs of the person and the needs of the community: (Top)
From the above it can be seen that there is very little difference between the needs of a community and the needs of the members of the community. Personal needs often conflict with each other in our lives. Sometimes we need to make some hard decisions about which needs come first. Communities are just the same in this respect. Which needs come first? The needs of the members or the needs of the community? Are the skills and resources more important to the needs of the members or the needs of the community? What skills and resources can be provided within the wider community? How does government policy and practice impact on the community filfilling those needs?

Within society we see all sorts of disadvantaged groups. They all have their own niche within government bureaucracy. The unemployed, elderly, children, drug rehabilitation, people with disability, just to name a few, all have their own policies, procedures, criteria for assistance etc. etc. etc. We need special services just to assess the person's eligibility for a service and to sort out the maze of paper work. It can be quite daunting for a person to even know where to begin. Just because I may have a condition that is defined under the Disability Services Act does not automatically mean that I will receive support. I may be disadvantaged in that I do not fit into the criteria (age, weight, income, personal supports, gender, type of disability etc.) of any suitable service, or that the service does not have room and I am put on a waiting list. All groups are disadvantaged to some extent with regard to health care. Do I have private health insurance? Is my condition classified as elective treatment? How long do I have to wait for treatment? What are the legal implications if I am over weight or have a some other pre-existing condition or am allergic to some medications etc.

A person or group may also be disadvantaged in that there is no service (skills or resources) that supports their needs.
In remote areas where there are no services,
or where they do not fit the criteria of a service,
or where a service does not have the skills and resources,
they have to rely on their own networks and support mechanisms or others in the community for support.

If the person or group does not have any support:
may become isolated
may become a burden on their own community
may be placed in other services that are not appropriate to their needs
may be grouped together
may be labeled with the same characteristics
may have their rights taken away from them
may be seen as a minority group and therefore may be treated as a minority group
may be denied the good things in life that are available to others in the community

A lack of skills and resources in the community also means that the person may be seen as:
a sick person : the person is treated differently to others
a nuisance : takes up resources that are needed elsewhere
a troublemaker : is always trying to standup for their basic rights
an object of pity : the person can not look after themselves
subhuman or retarded : is not capable of making their own decisions

In fact some members of these groups are often placed in the same settings today (both literally and figuratively) that Goffman, Wolfensberger and others wrote about in the past.
Asylum seekers
People with drug and alcohol problems
People with mental illnesses
People with high support needs

Sometimes people are separated for their own good and in the best interests of their community ...
they are a harm to themselves
they are a harm to others in their community

The above can happen in any place at any time where the community does not have the skills and resources to look after their needs.

Personal needs Vs Community needs

When providing the most appropriate care for people with high support needs ...
1) The community is not where the person is living, but where the person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships with others.
2) People with high support needs (severe disability, aged etc.) will always need support structures as a part of their lives.
3) The amount of participation in a community (living, education, employment or recreation) is directly related to the skills and resources of the person, and, the skills and resources of the community that the person wishes to participate in.
4) Institutions are going to be around in one form or another whether we like it or not, It is the way that they are used that is the problem.
5) The institutions of a society towards a particular group determine the way the group participates in society.
6) The institutions of a particular government department, organisation, profession or service define the way the person is supported within that society.
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the sense that they are today, but can become warm inviting community places that offer a range of services to the community, as well as be a part of the wider community within that society.
8) People with high support needs are a minority group in our society, and will have the same problems as other minority groups in being a part of society.

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