Resilience II: Older People and Social Care

Joan RapaportDr Joan Rapaport was inspired at a conference organized by the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College with London Age UK London and Making Research Count, that was also supported by the British Society of Gerontology. She provides her views of the event. Presentations are available on the conference website. (1,282 words)

In his welcome, Paul Goulden, Director of Age UK London explained that the conference was the second half of the Annual Joint Conference which had been held in March but was curtailed because of snow storms. This was indeed an event that had tested everyone’s resilience and explained why this conference was being held again thanks to the speakers and to the overall organizer, Jess Harris.

Paul Goulden, Daniel Webster, Lynne Phair and Dave Martin at the conference in Bloomsbury

Paul Goulden, Daniel Webster, Lynne Phair and Dave Martin at the conference held at Age UK London’s offices in Bloomsbury on 29 October

Using the Sit&See Tool to capture and celebrate Care and Compassion for Older People: Lynne Phair, Independent Consultant Nurse and Expert Witness

When investigating an allegation of hospital neglect, a manager had asked Lynne: ‘How do I know if staff are caring and compassionate?’ This started her on the road that ultimately led to the development of the Sit&See Tool, designed to capture care and compassion. Continue reading

‘Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge’ —Benjamin Franklin

Dr Mary BaginskyMary Baginsky is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. (1,005 words)

I have been conducting research for more years than I am prepared to admit – sometimes to myself. Much of it has been qualitative in nature, although often as part of a mixed approach methodology. So quantitative data have helped to define the issues to be explored in more depth through interviews and focus groups, for example, or qualitative work has been used to help identify the issues that should be explored through a survey. I am used to weighing concepts such as reliability, validity and generalisability when designing and carrying out projects and reporting their findings, whatever their provenance. I am also as fallible as anyone in not seeing an inherent flaw – that is where the wisdom of colleagues and, however imperfect, the peer review process can be invaluable. However, my experiences of the past few years have given me cause for concern. In conducting a review of evidence on an area where I have been working I have been shocked by some of the things I have found. It has led me to wonder if I would find the same level of errors if I looked long enough in other papers, books and articles. Continue reading

Cameos of Care Homes: stories from social care Vanguards

Jess Harris is Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. She led the Cameos of Care Homes project. (616 words)

Six ‘Vanguard’ areas across England have been developing approaches to enable care homes to better support the increasingly complex health needs of their residents. These six, focusing on ‘Enhanced Health in Care Homes’, were among 50 Vanguard pilot areas (2015 to 2018) tasked with developing models of care that can be sustained and replicated across England, helping the health and social care system tackle financial pressures and rising demands.

A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report has examined the Vanguards’ impact so far, in terms of value for money, and concluded: ‘there are early signs of a positive impact on emergency admissions’. However, at this early stage it cautions that ‘the longterm impact and sustainability of Vanguards is still not proven’. (page 47)

Staff members taking part in ‘Cameos of Care Homes’

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Personalisation and older people – better outcomes?

John Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. (455 words)

On Friday 14 September I met with a small international delegation of Occupational Therapists who work in two hospitals in Hong Kong: Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, an Acute District General Hospital, and Kowloon Hospital, a slightly smaller institution which offers general care to people who have chronic health conditions. They were accompanied by Denise Forte, who works as a senior lecturer in gerontology at Kingston University and who had organised the itinerary of the group. I had been invited to talk to them about two topics about which they were keen to know more: personalisation for older people in England, and the role of social workers and social services in supporting older people. Though the group was small, which enabled the seminar to be very informal, I did prepare some slides which I used where necessary.

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Intergenerational event at Portcullis House

Charlotte Bice (17 years) and Jessica Bice (16 years), with their grandmother, Joan Rapaport, PhD took part in an intergenerational workshop at Portcullis House, 24 August 2018. The afternoon involved discussing different approaches that the young and older generation may adopt to achieve a successful outcome in resolving community challenges. The event was presented by The Way Ahead Engagement Project in association with the City of London, City Bridge Trust and Age UK London. (400 words)

Reflections on the day

‘This has been an enjoyable event’. ‘Great day’. ‘Ninety-nine per cent of the population should have this’.

We were excited to be right by the Houses of Parliament, to be sitting in the room where Select Committees hear evidence and to be working in a group to consider how we might help to improve our local amenities. The presentation How Parliament holds Government to account gave us a clear understanding about the respective roles of Parliament and Government, the duties of our MP and the work undertaken by a range of parliamentary groups. We were also told that if our MP failed to respond to a particular concern we could attend the Houses of Parliament and register our query on a green card. Our MP would then be obliged to stop what they were doing to come to see us in person! Continue reading

The Role of the AMHP: A Fool’s Errand?

Caroline Norrie and Nicole Steils are researchers at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit (SCWRU), King’s College London. (618 words)

The identity of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) was the subject of a joint SCWRU and Making Research Count seminar held on Thursday, 23 August 2018, at King’s College London (KCL) as part of the Contemporary Issues in Mental Health series.

Dr Caroline Leah

Dr Caroline Leah

The presenter, Dr Caroline Leah, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care at Manchester Metropolitan University, discussed findings from her recently completed PhD about the role and identity of AMHPs, as well as enabling the audience, many being practising AMHPs, the chance to participate in lively discussions throughout the seminar.

An AMHP is a professional who is authorised to make certain legal decisions and applications under the Mental Health Act 1983; their powers include sectioning service users. This professional will usually be a social worker, who has undertaken additional training. In 2007, however, the law was amended to allow other mental health professionals to train for and to undertake this role. It is therefore now possible for psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists or psychologists to qualify as AMHPs, although this is still unusual. Continue reading

Research reveals reasons for low take-up of Approved Mental Health Professional role

Pay levels, poor awareness of the role, and a lack of associated career benefits all discourage health professionals from training and working as Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs), according to new research by the NIHR Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London.

AMHP Final Report 2018Published today, Who wants to be an Approved Mental Health Professional?, finds that closer working between Mental Health Trusts and local authorities, higher remuneration and enhancing the reputation and profile of AMHP work would encourage more health professionals to take up such positions.

Greater engagement from the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Occupational Therapists, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, may also make the AMHP role more attractive by helping to embed it in these health professionals’ career plans.

The research highlights how organisational barriers – such as difficulties in managing AMHPs across separate local authority and mental health trust teams – deter many health professionals from taking up the role.

The study consists of more than 50 interviews with individuals involved in AMHP services, as well as a survey of Local Authority AMHP Leads.

Unsurprisingly, health professionals interviewed for the research reported needing a high degree of motivation to become AMHPs, often having to overcome opposition from their managers. Some also feared being responsible for decisions to detain patients, which they thought would make it more difficult for them to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships. Continue reading

At the 7th International Health Humanities Network Conference

Dr Martin StevensMartin Stevens is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s. (1,276 words)

I was pleased to be asked to chair a few sessions of this conference, on 2nd-4th August 2018, at St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club. Overcoming the prejudice about all things Southampton inevitable in a Portsmouth resident, I have to admit it was a great venue.

This was the 7th International Health Humanities Network (IHHN) conference. The venue has alternated between the USA and Europe; this year the conference was run in collaboration with the Good Mental Health Cooperative and speakers and delegates came from the USA, Australia, Europe and Nigeria. The IHHN:

…provides a global platform for innovative humanities scholars, medical, health and social care professionals, voluntary sector workers and creative practitioners to join forces with informal and family carers, service-users and the wider self-caring public to explore, celebrate and develop new approaches in advancing health and wellbeing through the arts and humanities in hospitals, residential and community settings. (from the IHHN website)

St Mary's Stadium, Southampton

St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

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Newly published in Ageing & Society: ‘Day centres for older people – a systematically conducted scoping review of literature about their benefits, purposes and how they are perceived’

Katharine OrellanaKatharine Orellana is a Research Associate in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in The Policy Institute at King’s. (479 words)

Day centres for older people have been an integral part of social care in England since the 1960s. Recently, attention has focused on providing individualised support for older people with care needs. The relevance and desirability of group services, such as day centres, are questioned. Many are closing.

Our newly published review of the literature about day centres covers what people say about them and reports the evidence on centres’ benefits and purposes. Focusing on centres that do not specialise in the care of older people with dementia and covering the period 2005-17, it highlights both what is known and the gaps in evidence about these services. Continue reading

Home care workers supporting people with dementia at end of life

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (560 words)

The latest seminar in the current Perspectives series focused on research with older people took place on Monday 9 July. Kritika Samsi from SCWRU and Tushna Vandrevala from Kingston University presented findings from their research into how home care workers support people with dementia towards the end of their life. Their study investigated the experiences of home care workers working with people with dementia who were living in their own homes, the challenges they face, how these are managed and their views of the contribution of their work. Their presentation was based on semi-structured interviews with 30 care workers and 13 managers from 10 home care agencies in London and the south east of England. It was funded by Dunhill Medical Trust. Continue reading