Building the case for housing as supporting a good old age

Fendt-Newlin et al 2016 Living well in old age-page-001The authors of Living well in old age. The value of UK housing interventions in supporting mental health and wellbeing in later life introduce the report, which is published today.

Housing in later life is more than just a roof or a matter of getting upstairs. Housing-related services can help many people by supporting their mental and physical wellbeing in later life. A newly published review of UK housing interventions focuses on their contribution to mental health in particular since this area of wellbeing often gets overlooked. Housing care and support can help people reduce the risks of depression or other problems getting worse and can make a difference in the lives of people with severe disabilities.

The review was undertaken by a research team at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. It was commissioned by HACT on behalf of a group of social housing providers and developmental bodies who are keen to place on record the many links between housing, care and health services practice (*). Continue reading

Social Work and Disability

Peter Simcock and Dr. Rhoda Castle introduce their new book, Social Work and Disability, now out from Polity Books. (1,040 words)

0745670199Literature focusing on social work with disabled people, particularly those with physical and sensory impairments, is relatively limited, and so an email from the publisher Polity Press enquiring if such a text would be welcome was met with great enthusiasm. We didn’t realise then, that we would be the authors of that text, especially when faced with other demands on our time, not least PhD study and our ‘day jobs’. However, a number of things motivated us to write this book. First of all, we have both observed some inspiring social work practice with disabled people, and this is an area of work we would like to promote among the practitioners of the future. Although people should not be defined purely in terms of their impairments, there can be variation between the restrictions that people with different atypical physical attributes will face, and variation again between their experience and that of people with learning disabilities. As literature focusing on social work with people with physical and sensory impairments is particularly sparse, this was a gap we sought to address. However, despite this primary focus on disability associated with physical and sensory impairment, we have attempted to take a holistic approach, which recognises that people with learning disabilities may also have physical impairments. Continue reading

Social care, the market and the prospects for a National Care Service

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (524 words)

Professor Guy Daly, Executive Dean of the Health and Life Sciences Faculty at Coventry University, Bleddyn Davies, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the Personal Social Services Research Unit and I spoke at a Research in Specialist and Elderly Care (RESEC) seminar on 10 March at the House of Lords. RESEC is a national charity whose principal aim is to promote research and teaching in social care by identifying priorities for funding and teaching and securing funds to invest in these priorities. It provides finance for agreed projects and ensures findings and outcomes are publically disseminated. Continue reading

What are the prospects for using telecare for older people?

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (500 words)

On 9 March, I spoke in a webinar lecture for Oxford Academic Health Science Network. This network brings together universities, industry and the NHS throughout the Thames Valley region to improve health and prosperity in our region through rapid clinical innovation adoption. One strand of this network is devoted to a dementia clinical network and I was invited to speak by Dr Rupert McShane, a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, who leads this network. Continue reading

Ageing and India

Valerie LipmanValerie Lipman is an honorary Postdoc Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, the Policy Institute at King’s. (926 words)

Just as the British TV-watching public was being captivated by the start of a three-part reality-style programme, ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’, showing eight familiar-faced senior citizens set up home in Jaipur north India, I was on my way to West Bengal in east India to take part in a gerontology conference. While the show raised some big questions about realistic retirement choices, including enjoying India’s many splendours, India is coming to terms with its own vast and growing population of older citizens. Continue reading

From our annual joint conference: End of Life Care

Dr Joan RapaportThe Annual Joint Conference of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit and Making Research Count at King’s College London and Age UK London, with support from the British Society of Gerontology was held on 11 February 2016 at King’s College London. Joan Rapaport reports. (1,633 words)

By way of introduction, Professor Jill Manthorpe, Director, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, explained that the focus of the conference was on good practice in the day-to-day delivery of palliative and end of life care. The Unit’s Longitudinal Care Work Study had highlighted the importance of collaborative working between health and social care agencies and ensuring staff were prepared and supported when working with people in the last stages of life. In spite of all the bad news about social care being ‘in crisis’ and of poor quality, research has shown that four out of five people describe positive experiences: ‘We can work on the one in five’. Continue reading

Providing formerly homeless people with the support that they need

Maureen Crane, Louise Joly and Jill Manthorpe introduce the final report of the Rebuilding Lives study, published today. (678 words)

Full reportHomeless people clearly need homes but in order to keep them and to rebuild their lives they also need access to resettlement programmes that offer long-term support. A major new study by Unit researchers provides detailed evidence of what works in helping formerly homeless people to sustain a tenancy and avoid further homelessness.

We maintained contact with a group of 297 homeless people over five years after they were rehoused. We were fortunate enough to gain funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research to undertake this ground-breaking study. In the Rebuilding Lives study we investigated their experiences, the ‘ups and downs’ of settling down and building a more settled life. It is the largest and only UK study of its kind. One major finding is that just giving someone who has been homeless a tenancy is not the sole solution to homelessness, as many formerly homeless people are still vulnerable during the first few years after being rehoused. Many experience problems living independently, and require ongoing support from housing, health and social care services – help many do not receive. Continue reading

Poorer dementia patients in England less likely to be prescribed drugs

Dr Claudia Cooper is Reader in Old Age Psychiatry at University College London. (560 words)

Dementia patients from more affluent areas in England are 27% more likely to be prescribed anti-dementia drugs than patients from poorer areas, finds a new UCL study of 77,045 dementia patients across the UK. This inequality was not seen in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

The new research, published in Age and Ageing, also found that compared to English practices, anti-dementia drugs were prescribed more often in Northern Ireland and Scotland but less often in Wales. Continue reading

Dementia and ethnicity deepen housing needs

Gearing upThe increasing numbers of older people with dementia and older people from minority ethnic groups in the UK present new challenges for many housing services according to Gearing Up: Housing, Ethnicity and Dementia, a report just published by Age UK. Valerie Lipman and Jill Manthorpe from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London examined the ways in which Housing Associations in England and Scotland are preparing themselves for tenants who develop dementia, especially those who are from minority ethnic groups. Continue reading

Four studies in mental health social care

Dr Joan RapaportOn Thursday 8 October the Social Care Workforce Research Unit held its second annual Mental Health Social Care conference, in conjunction with Making Research Count. Joan Rapaport, Visiting Research Fellow at the Unit, was there. (2,275 words)

In her opening comments, Jo Moriarty, Deputy Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, highlighted that the seminar was taking place as part of Mental Health Awareness week and that 10 October is World Mental Health Day. She observed that as well as mental health social workers, delegates from a wide range of organizations, in particular housing, were represented in the audience. This confirmed that adult mental health was not specific to one area of practice. Continue reading