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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Social Care



Is it time to rethink our currently outdated culture of Care?

As a former Nursing student and later a Business student I am familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory in psychology that demonstrates the theory of Human Motivation.

Maslow’s theory focuses on describing the basic motivational stages of growth in humans, using the terms "physiological", "safety", "belonging" and "love", "esteem", and "self-actualisation".

Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsPortrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualisation and self-transcendence at the top. The belief is that as humans we need to fulfil these basic needs to prevent us from feeling tense or anxious.

This can be applied to Health and Social Care, Nurses/Healthcare Professionals can apply Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs in the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of patient care. It would help the nurse identify unmet needs as they become health care needs, and allows the nurse to locate the patient on the health-illness continuum and to incorporate the human dimensions and health models into meeting needs.

The fulfilment of the lower level needs is essential to a person’s health and well-being.  This principle encourages professionals across the scale to look beyond their particular area of expertise; patients or clients will be evaluated in the context of their physical health, their family and career situation, their ability to communicate meaningfully with family members, and their ability to work.

All basic human needs are interrelated and may require nursing actions at more than one level at a given time. For example, in caring for a person coming into A&E with a heart attack, the nurse’s immediate concern in the patient’s physiologic needs (e.g., oxygen and pain relief). At the same time, safety needs (e.g., for ensuring that the person does not fall off the examining table) and love and belonging needs (e.g., for having a family member nearby if possible) are still major considerations.

Physiologic
Breathing, circulation, temperature, intake of food and fluids, elimination of wastes, movement.
Safety & security
Housing, community, climate.
Love & belonging
Relationships with others, communications with others, support systems, being part of community, feeling loved by others.
Self-esteem
Hope, joy, curiosity, happiness, accepting Self.
Self-actualisation
Thinking, learning, decision making, values, beliefs, fulfilment, helping others.

These can become the motivators, but in addition if you deprive someone of any of these a deficiency of needs will arise.  This deficiency will motivate people to act when they are unmet – if you deprive someone of their liberty, their safety, their security, they and their loved ones will strive to meet that need.  Such needs will become stronger the longer the duration they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food, the hungrier they will become.

With Maslow’s model in mind, health-care workers can assess an individual as a whole person – a physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and moral being whose physicality cannot be separated from psychology and feeling.  At each stage of treatment, a patient’s basic physical needs must be accounted for, whether by a physician, a social worker, a psychologist, or even a speech-language pathologist.
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