Sample Paper on Social Work and Human Services Profession

Social work and human services are professions that are fully devoted to improving the lives of persons in need of help. In these two career fields, the experts or rather professionals work vigorously to ascertain that they have a positive impact on the populations they serve.  Therefore, the human services field as asserted by Bruce and Austin (2000) is extensively defined, and it distinctively approaches the goal of addressing the human needs through an interdisciplinary set of knowledge that focuses on preventing, remedying, and maintaining an assurance of enhancing the quality of life of patients.  In this regard, the essence of the human services profession is to promote enhanced service delivery models by addressing the quality of direct health services as well as enhance accessibility, accountability and coordination among the health care practitioners and service delivery agencies. This paper discusses the various models of human service delivery and their overall role in promoting the wellbeing of patients.

Various Models of Human Service Delivery

The models of human service delivery are classified into three: medical, public health, and human service models. The three models symbolize the different orientations in the delivery of healthcare services.  Furthermore, the medical practitioners rely on these three approaches to offer services today and each model is suitable for specific issues.  Furthermore, each model is characterized by particular ethical assumptions that direct its practice.  Most of the assumptions mirror beliefs pertaining to the causes of problem, treatment procedures, and the role of the practitioners (Hopkins & Austin, 2004).

The Medical Model

In the medical field, mental disorders are defined as illnesses and conditions that impair the functioning of the brain and as a result impede the ability of a person to function normally. Mental disorder has biological bases and responds to medical interventions, for instance, prescriptions and physical therapy.  This model perceives the patient as an individual that need help or an individual that is unhealthy. As such, this model starts by identifying the symptoms, conducting diagnosis, administering proper treatment and making a follow-up during the recuperation period (Hopkins & Austin, 2004).

The Public health model

This model is similar to the medical model in terms of diagnosis and treatment procedure. However, the major difference regards the beneficiaries of services as well as treatment methodologies.  On one hand the medical model focuses on individuals, on the other, the public health model seeks to identify particular groups of persons within the general population based on geographical region, problems they encounter, and distinctive features such as age. The model examines mental disorders as a product of faults or failures of the society or surroundings.   The prevention approach or strategies include establishing school programs, creating and distributing pamphlets, and using video clips among others (Hopkins & Austin, 2004).

Human services model

This model focuses on balancing between people and the environment.  It attempts to promote the interaction between individuals and the environment by reducing the perceived conflicts that can trigger mental disorders.  Some of the aspects that can aggravate mental disorders, according to this, include biochemical imbalances, defective learning process, and impacts of the social settings among others. The remedies in such cases include engaging relevant agencies to address environmental concerns as well as recommending proper treatment to the affected persons (Hopkins & Austin, 2004).

Where We Have Come and Where We Might Be Going

The human services as well as human services agencies have evolved in the current century. Some of the driving forces for the notable transitions include the demographic, socio-cultural, economic, technological, and economic factors (Hopkins & Hyde, 2002). The provision of human services has been hugely affected and, in some situations, become susceptible to substantial governmental initiatives, innovation of organizational structures, interagency partnership and unions, increase services demands and level of competition among healthcare facilities for available resources and skilled staff among others.

As such, schools and medical practitioners admit that social challenges have become more sophisticated and obstinate, making it difficult to address them or even identify a model that can contain or solve them permanently.  According to Sowers and Ellis (2001), the three major issues affecting the delivery of human services include diversity, technology and managed care.  o Hopkins and Austin (2004) posit that the significant increase of persons of color, immigrants, the elderly and persons with disabilities amplify the challenges encountered by the human service organizations, including the type of services provided, staff retraining and addressing communication obstacles.  Technological improvements that have introduced changes, especially pertaining to the manner in which the organization collects, store and disseminates information is another challenge experienced by the human services professionals. Lastly, changes triggered by the managed care have produced huge effect on how the human service experts deliver healthcare services (Bruce & Austin, 2000).

Some of the researchers that have identified the huge impact caused by managed care on human service delivery. For instance, Munson (1997) reckons that managed cost institutions as opposed to managed care institutions have become key providers of mental health services and that medical practitioners must embrace and implement market orientation.  Furthermore, Munson (1997) postulates that in the past several decades   managed care produced a huge impact on the provision of human services. Managed care institutions manage a big percentage of group health insurance covers, mental health care, child-care support services and other numerous social services.   As such, managed care has played a significant role in managing resources as well as delivering human services particularly in mental health areas.

The essence of establishing managed care was to introduce the aspect of accountability. Even though the society raised concerns about the high cost of health care during the 1980s, today people are concerned about the role of managed care in improving health care. It appears that even with the technology advancements and improved models of care, the services rendered to patients are deteriorating.  The essence of managed care is to influence the provision of services to persons within the social service network. The external reviews as well as principles of good practice and variety of care services should inform the type of care services rendered by the practitioners.  With the external reviews, the managed care can monitor and inform the service providers what need to be done and still obtain financial coverage. Furthermore, the purpose of external reviews is to ensure that the needs of the clients are addressed and met using the best care services (Cohen & Austin, 1997).  It is important to note that lower level of care does not imply that the care administered is compromised or of lower quality. It means ensuring that clients can access care services irrespective of their social status, color, race, gender, or nationality. The other factor considered in the external review is the quality of services offered. Quality care entails fairness in treatment, easy accessibility of care services, meeting the expectation of clients, responding to concerns of clients fairly and ensuring that clients feel contented. Cowger (1994) postulates that constant review triggers a period conversation between the services providers and the managed care staff about the status of patients and the efficiency of the services rendered.  Since managed care focuses on providing suitable services to clients as well as services that correspond with specific medical outcomes, it develops principles of best practices for addressing client’s specific needs.


Social work and human services are two career professions that are fully devoted in improving the lives of persons in need of help. The models of human service delivery are classified into three, including the medical, public health, and human service models. The first approach assumes that mental disorders include illnesses that impair the normal functioning of the brain. The public health model regards mental disorders as a product of faults or failures triggered by the society or the surroundings. Lastly, the human services model focuses on balancing between people and the environment. The three models symbolize the different orientations in the delivery of healthcare services. Medical practitioners rely on these models to provide services today and each model is deemed effective depending on the problem identified.  Indeed, human service delivery has greatly transformed greatly evolved in the recent past. Some of the driving forces attributable for the changes include the demographic, socio-cultural, economic, technological, and economic factors.




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