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About this book

In this clear and insightful book, best selling author Malcolm Payne analyses the major elements of social care practice, explaining how caring and social work skills and values are crucial to effective social care.

Through theory, research evidence and skill development, Payne identifies the varying contexts in which social care takes place, the agencies that provide it and the relationships at its heart. The book explains the key practical social care skills:

• How to be receptive to users' and carers' own understanding of their needs
• How to develop continuity in service provision
• How to use effective interpersonal engagement with users and carers to ensure a positive future for them in which they have as much control over their care as possible
• How to work in partnership with colleagues and other agencies

With practice and case examples, research boxes, further reading and reflection activities, this book is a stimulating read for social work and community care students and practitioners.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. What is social care practice?

Abstract
Social care is a difficult concept to understand, because the term is used in different places with different meanings. The three main usages refer to:
  • Social work practice in residential, day care and other group care settings (for example the Social Care Association)
  • A British term referring to services, including social work, provided in the field of social welfare. Used like this, the term often connects with ‘healthcare’. ‘Social care’ has replaced ‘the social services’ and ‘the personal social services’ in UK government terminology, and official documents often refer to an omnibus term: ‘health and social care’. Talking about ‘social care’ emphasizes that providing effective services is a crucial part of social work, which in turn is part of social care
  • Practice and training for practice in the ‘care sector’ of the economy and in state welfare services, often in group care settings, as distinct from therapeutic social work designed to enhance personal growth and self-understanding (Payne, 2006).
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 2. Valuing users and carers

Abstract
In this chapter, I argue that an important social care aim is to normalize caring in the social context of the places where people live. Normalization, also called ‘social role valorization’, is derived from work with people with learning disabilities. It means providing a living environment that offers a quality of life and social roles that would be valued by most people (Ramon, 1991; Race, 2003). Most people value connectedness with their community, family and social network, so care should maintain and enhance their connections. Social care services have a history and social role that often hinders the achievement of normalization.
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 3. The state and the individual

Abstract
Some argue that social care is at the centre of the relationship between the state and the citizen (Antonnen et al., 2003), because they are at the heart of an unstated contract for an exchange between the citizen’s contributions to society and the responsibility of the collective for the citizen. How should that responsibility be balanced against personal, family and community responsibilities? This is an issue, since nearly everyone is selfcaring to some degree and many people are self-caring for most or all their lives. We are all also carers for others within our social relationships. So, self-caring and caring within family and community social relationships are the norm. When and how does caring by formal services fit in with that? How does a formal service become part of the caring arena for someone who needs care? In Chapter 1, we saw that care is carried out in personal relationships, it often involves intimate bodily contact and that this has important emotional implications for the people involved. This chapter addresses a crucial question for social policy and public administration, therefore: how is it possible to provide this intimate personal relationship as part of a public service? The difficulty is that public policy is made in public debate to achieve collective goals. These goals are directed and perhaps constrained by public finances.
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 4. Engaging and assessing in social care

Abstract
This chapter, in which we look at engaging with and assessing service users and carers and their social situation, begins the sequence of chapters (4–7) that explore social care practice. Engagement is a process by which practitioners and service users become enmeshed in working together on social care issues faced by the user. It creates a connection between workers, their agencies and users and carers so that the social care services become part of the connectedness that generates a feeling of caring in people’s lives. It leads to assessment, which involves practitioners in examining the range of factors affecting an individual, group or social situation in order to prepare, plan and take action to meet social care or other service objectives. Engaging and assessing means that practitioners face starkly the tension, explored in Chapter 2, that caring means receptiveness and aiming at personal development for users and carers, but social care requires intrusion of the official on private space. This means dealing with users’ apprehensiveness about the profound change of identity from being self-caring to being dependent implied by being considered for social care.
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 5. Partnership with agencies and colleagues

Abstract
Caring requires continuity because the receptive element of caring derives from connectedness between a user, their personal networks and formal care networks and the developmental element of caring requires a holistic focus on the development of the service user as a person, that is, on the whole person, including their social relationships. However, social care comprises a ‘range’ of services, as the definitions in Chapter 1 put it, part of wider services in education and healthcare. Somehow that range must be brought together to provide a holistic, continuous service. Focusing on social and cultural issues in social care requires a concern for the networks of relationships in which users live their lives and the social institutions involved in providing care. Practitioners also need to interact with colleagues within their own and other agencies. Negotiation, liaison and advocacy are crucial skills. Skilful work in all these areas enables good practice.
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 6. Personal and social intervention

Abstract
Individualism is sovereign in the current political understanding of care. Late 20th-century Western governments gained the political insight that people want greater control of their personal lives. This comes partly from cultural shifts in favour of individual material consumption. Care is no exception. We have seen that social care requires intrusion on users and carers, although its caring is both receptive to and developmental of users’ personal fulfilment. How can practitioners convert intrusion across individual boundaries into successful intervention to benefit users? The developing government prescription for this is personalization. This means, in general, to change something so that it suits someone or is connected with them. In information technology, it has a recently developed meaning of adapting a standard format such as a letter, email or website so that it is addressed to or shown as coming from a particular person. In social care, building on this, it means to adapt services to the needs of a particular service user, by giving the user increased control over assessment, planning and management of the budget for the care provided. A Demos report on the future of social work in Scotland describes it as:
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 7. Endings, monitoring and evaluation

Abstract
How and where do you end social care? When a user leaves a care home or a day centre? When an older person receiving home care enters hospital or residential care? Administrative systems often treat moves like this as a ‘discharge’ from the service. It seems a misuse of scarce resources to continue involvement when someone in another service is primarily responsible. However, Hudson (1994) makes the point, referring to a Scottish care management project, that securing a good experience of and following up admission were an important part of good practice. Maintaining continuing connections is important to caring services, because caring is about connectedness and the direction of travel of the people, family and social network involved. My own experience of bereavement services suggests that when someone dies, that is not the end of the case because other members of the family are affected by the death. Therefore, we need to follow up the interaction of one person’s experience with the effect on others.
Malcolm Payne

Chapter 8. The future of social care

Abstract
Is good social care possible? Do we achieve it now? Can we achieve it in the future? My answers to these questions are: undoubtedly yes, yes sometimes, yes if we work at it. In this chapter, I bring together the arguments of this book and look towards the future of social care.
Malcolm Payne
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