Working Group on Caring for Vulnerable People

Chair: Dr Sharyn Maxwell,  Newcastle University

There are many groupings of vulnerable people in the world*. Furthermore, the numbers of vulnerable people in general populations are much higher than may initially be expected. While health education programmes commonly include training in the needs of some groups of vulnerable people, for example, frail older people with multiple chronic conditions, health professionals often lack awareness, knowledge and/or confidence in dealing with people with other vulnerabilities. 

The aim of this working group is to create a community of educators and practitioners who will work towards better experiences of, and outcomes from, healthcare related encounters between vulnerable people and the health professionals who treat them.The objectives of this group are to: 

  • Identify knowledge and skills gaps amongst health professionals in dealing with vulnerable people (whether as individuals or as people groups)
  • Increase awareness of the knowledge and skills gaps amongst health professionals and/or between health systems
  • Promote the development of educational innovations that increase health professionals’ expertise in working with vulnerable people
  • Undertake research to assess, from the perspectives of health professionals and vulnerable service users, the effectiveness and transferability of educational innovations 
  • Advocate for better awareness amongst policy makers and health educators of the mental, physical and social impacts upon vulnerable people when health professionals and health systems are poorly equipped to deal with their needs.