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The effectiveness of social work with adults: scoping review

17 March 2016

Image: SCWRU Report, King's College, LondonThe Social Care Workforce Research Unit (SCWRU) at King’s College London has published a new scoping review on the effectiveness of social work with adults. The report, authored by Jo Moriarty and Jill Manthorpe, is based on systematic searches of existing evidence to provide a broad overview of the effectiveness of social work with adults in the UK and internationally, as well as identifying where gaps exist.

The review considers effectiveness across different areas of adult social work, looking at cost, impact on service users and carers (ie changes to quality of life), as well as the views and experiences of people accessing services and their carers. It finds evidence to support the effectiveness of end of life and palliative care social work, and notes the lack of empirical research about the effectiveness social work with adults with learning disabilities.

Social work with adults involves a number of different roles and functions, from assessment, providing counselling/ongoing support to an individual, family or carer, safeguarding, and being up to date with the evidence on key issues and local knowledge. The review found that effectiveness seemed highest where professionals within social work roles had the ability to combine a number of these roles.

Image: SCWRU Report, King's College, LondonOverall, the review concluded that although the evidence base for social work with adults is mixed and uneven, the results are broadly positive.

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