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

An alternative approach to ageing

Today, we are posting the press release from the national charity, University of the Third Age, as it publishes a report that takes a fresh look at ageing. (409 words)

The U3A (University of the Third Age) has released research today which details a sustainable and positive approach to ageing built on group learning, skill sharing and volunteering.

The report Living Life, Extending Horizons, Challenging Conventions is based on the findings of a literature review, together with the results of a member survey and a series of focus groups around the country.

Sam Mauger, Chief Executive of the Third Age Trust (which supports U3As in the UK) said, “We think it is time to move away from the current public debate on ageing which is largely predicated on a deficit and dependency approach.

“The evidence from this research demonstrates the value of mutual aid and of reciprocity to confidence, self-esteem, and wellbeing.

“The U3A model is low-cost, defined by participants, and learner-led. It is not dependent on state funding; it has a life and existence of its own.

“More importantly this report demonstrates the value of communities of interest which are not defined by age, or by past experience, but instead are defined by the experiences still to be explored”.

U3A members reported major benefits to being part of the U3A learning model in terms of confidence, combatting loneliness, feeling supported in new communities, learning new skills and, perhaps most important of all, feeling valued and enjoying life.

Kelvin Rushworth from Wooler U3A in Northumberland said, “After my wife died of a brain tumour, I began the next phase of my life. For me, adjusting to living alone in a new area had many challenges. There is no doubt that U3A provides a wonderful, welcoming learning network: kindred spirits and friends galore!”

There are currently 1,030 U3As in the country with more opening all the time. Each U3A is a charity in its own right and hosts hundreds of interest groups chosen and run by the members, for the members.

Subjects cover a wide range of areas including architecture, Biology to Yoga, Zoology and everything in between.  There are around 10,000 interest groups taking place in the UK every week.

U3A national chairman Pam Jones, who celebrated her 80th birthday this year, said, “Members often call U3A a life-saver. If their circumstances change with retirement or losing a loved one, it brought meaning and purpose to their life. U3A is a community and a wonderful organisation”.

The report is available on the U3A website.

Child protection social work: call for study participants

Nicola Anderson is a child protection social worker who is also conducting a study of what affects child protection social workers working directly with parents. If you would like to take part or learn more about the research please contact Nicola: nicola.anderson@study.beds.ac.uk (441 words)

Engaging parents in direct work is an important part of working in child protection. Sometimes it can be a very difficult task as social workers are entering people’s private family life and interventions can feel invasive. Parents are justifiably reluctant to allow this. Parents can express their feelings to the social worker involved and this can sometimes become aggressive. Social workers meet aggression so often that reducing aggression has now become part of social work (Taylor 2011). Schools of thought are that social workers contribute to parents’ negative feelings as a result of their communication or practice styles. There are movements towards changing the way social workers communicate and work with families with the emphasis on respect, listening and ensuring parents understanding of and involvement in plans and processes, for example motivational interviewing and signs of safety. Continue reading

Integrated care from an international perspective

Jo Moriarty is Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (578 words)

The 18th International Conference on Integrated Care was hosted by the International Foundation of Integrated Care (IFIC) in partnership with the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM and Vilans (the National Centre of Expertise for Long-term Care in the Netherlands) in Utrecht from 23-25 May 2018.  Michelle Cornes and I were both fortunate to be among the 800 or so delegates attending the conference.

The increase in the number of people with complex long-term conditions whose support needs span traditional boundaries across health, social care and housing has led to many developments aimed at improving collaboration across different organisations and enhancing quality of care for individuals.  However, there is no single definition of what is meant by ‘integrated care’. Continue reading

Personalisation: towards evidence that counts

Dr Martin StevensMartin Stevens is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s. (811 words)

Personalisation has been a dominant theme in social care policy for 25 years and has also been a strong theme for the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. In addition to our involvement in the Evaluation of the Individual Budgets pilots in 2008 (Glendinning et al 2008), the Unit has completed studies on Risk, Safeguarding and Personal Budgets; personalised employment support: Jobs First; and, on Personal Assistants and Personal Budgets. The Unit has published extensively on this topic, which has also been identified as a context in many other studies. Continue reading

Research ‘showcase’ at the Department of Health and Social Care

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s. (637 words)

I was invited to speak last month at a seminar organised by the School for Social Care Research (SSCR) at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The purpose of the event was to ‘showcase’ research SSCR have funded over the last couple of years and to further cement links between researchers and policy-makers. Continue reading

Letter from Budapest

Ágnes Turnpenny is a Research Associate at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. (564 words)

On March 13-14 I attended the conference Social and Technological Innovations – The Participation of Persons with Disabilities during the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrad Group. The Visegrad Group (or V4) is an intergovernmental cooperation between Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Originally established after the fall of the iron curtain in 1991, it aims to promote cooperation and mutual learning based on shared legacies and common challenges in the context of political and socio-economic transformation. An important milestone was reached when the V4 countries (alongside four other post-communist countries) joined the European Union in 2004. In recent years the emphasis on ‘shared values’ has become stronger as the four countries have shifted towards more populist or openly authoritarian regimes. Continue reading

Gambling: legitimate leisure or escalating public health issue?

Caroline NorrieSCWRU Researcher, Caroline Norrie, reports on a NatCen-hosted debate about whether gambling should be treated as a public health issue. (1,335 words)

Researchers, industry and government representatives, LA staff and gambling-support organisation workers gathered to debate whether gambling is a legitimate entertainment activity or an escalating public health danger on 7 March 2018 at the NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) offices in London.

Opportunities to gamble have burgeoned in England since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 (implemented in 2007). Industry de-regulation combined with technological advances have triggered an explosion of new online and offline gambling products which has been accompanied by widespread cross-media advertising. Continue reading

Improving care for people with Parkinson’s through learning

Fiona Barrett is the Education Programme Manager at Parkinson’s UK. The charity works alongside health and care professionals in the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network to provide resources and learning to drive improvements in the care of people with Parkinson’s. (500 words)

With the recent publication of the updated Parkinson’s NICE guideline and quality standard, it’s a great time to highlight some of the learning we provide to help health and social care professionals improve the quality of care they offer to people with Parkinson’s. Continue reading

CQC emphasises the importance of human rights for high quality care home services

Caroline Green is a PhD student at King’s College London. (362 words)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), England’s care service regulator and quality inspector, is emphasising the centrality of human rights and equality when providing high quality care in care homes and other care services. Human rights are the rights we all have because we are human beings. They are legally enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s Inspector-in-Chief, recently explained at CQC’s Human Rights and Equality Conference in February 2018 what role human rights play for CQC’s regulation and inspection of care homes. She said, ‘Human rights thread through all our key-lines of enquiry. It informs the judgement that we make when inspecting care services and is one way that the CQC can emphasise the importance of human rights, raise the profile and make sure that the people are being treated the way that they should.’ Continue reading