Black History Month – a spotlight on Social Care in South London

Prof Jill Manthorpe and Dr Katharine Orellana both work on the NIHR ARC South London Social Care Theme from within the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Research, King’s College London. (1226 words)

Many stories are being told relating Black history in and about South London. Some of them are coming from people who staffed or volunteered in local social care services. These are largely unsung stories of efforts to meet the needs of London’s new migrant populations. In this blog we highlight some of the developments that were taking place in South London over 30 years ago in older people’s day services and others outside the statutory sector (although many were supported by local council grants). South London was for many years the location for Age Concern nationally (in Mitcham) and the pan-London body, Age Concern/Age UK London (in Camberwell then Elephant and Castle) as well as Black groups that had interests in social care such as the Afiya Trust (in Vauxhall). Where possible we provide links to the items we found.

South London is still the home of one of the leading national, even international, organisations that has proven the value of oral history and reminiscence among older people of different faiths, cultures and heritages. Founded in 1983 by Pam Schweitzer MBE, Age Exchange is based in Blackheath. Her ‘Mapping Memories’ collection remains a key resource for families, volunteers and care staff working with older people from different ethnic backgrounds. Continue reading

Resource for day centres – Guide for adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’ safely

Caroline Green and Katharine Orellana, Post-Doctoral Fellows, National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London. (721 words)

On 23 March 2020, most of England’s population was placed into ‘lockdown’ due to the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic taking hold across the UK. This was an unprecedented move by the government and meant that social care services, including day centres for older people or those with social care needs mostly closed to regular users.

Several months later, the government is taking a step-by-step approach to ‘unlocking’ society, with social clubs and community centres allowed to open again from 4 July 2020. But, with the pandemic not yet subsided, day centres are faced with the task of making their services safe and reducing the risks of infections to service users and staff. This is particularly important for day centres, as they may serve groups of people at risk of being seriously affected by the virus, such as people with underlying health conditions. Continue reading

HSCWRU researchers have a ball at the British Society of Gerontology 2019 Annual Conference in Liverpool

Caroline Norrie, Katharine Orellana and Laura Cole report from BSG 2019. (725 words)

HSCWRU researchers enjoyed two and a half days of stimulating presentations, symposia and keynote speeches at the British Society of Gerontology’s (BSG) 2019 Annual Conference held this year in Liverpool. The 48th BSG annual conference was entitled Resilience and Living Well in Local Communities and took place from 10 to 12th July at the University of Liverpool.

Keynote speakers presented on each day. Professor Gill Windle from Bangor University kicked off the conference with a discussion about resilience in later life – and the uses and abuses of this myth/metaphor/or measure. Professor Frank Oswald from Goethe University in Germany discussed environmental gerontological perspectives and the types of research studies that arise from these approaches. Professor Chris Todd, joint lead of the NIHR Policy Research Unit – Older People and Frailty, discussed his aim of using an ‘equality lens’ in the setting up and undertaking of work in this recently formed team together with Newcastle University and the London School of Economics. Continue reading

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

Outcomes of day centres for older people are highly relevant to policy themes

Katharine OrellanaKatharine Orellana is a Research Assistant at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s. (532 words)

For some, day centres for older people may conjure up images of incessant bingo and unstimulated people sitting around the edges of a dull room in an isolated building away from the community. This was not my experience during the 56 days I spent at four day centres for older people in 2015-16. These visits were for a study which aimed to improve the understanding of the purpose and role of English generalist day centres for older people by painting a rich and contemporary picture of them. I was investigating what they offer, who uses them, why and how, what they contribute to the lives of those involved with them, how they are perceived and how they relate to health and social care services. Continue reading

What do we know about managers of care homes?

Katharine OrellanaKatharine Orellana is a Research Training Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s. Katharine’s Care Home Managers: a scoping review of evidence is published today by NIHR School for Social Care Research. (589 words)

We have a tendency to put care home managers at the back of our minds until a crisis hits the headlines. On such sad occasions, there is suddenly a lot of interest in them.

In England, around 460,000 adults live in 17,350 care homes that have a staff body of around 560,000. Care homes are hugely varied in many ways. They range from small, family businesses to large national and multinational chains offering anything from 1 – 215 beds. Homes may cater for more than one group of people, but they all provide accommodation and personal care. Just over a quarter of them also offer nursing, and these account for about half of all places in care homes as they tend to be larger operations. Staff must support residents with increasingly complex needs. Continue reading