The theme of this month’s Research and Policy Update is End of Life (EoL) Care. The research summaries provide a picture of the challenges and opportunities for Health and Social Care services that provide EoL care. The papers examine the following areas: incorporating an individual’s social network in the approach to EoL care; prevention of unnecessary transitions to hospital at the end-of-life; the importance of an individual’s spiritual and religious needs in EoL care; the approach of healthcare and home care staff to EoL care for care home residents.
Specific knowledge and skills required of practitioners in EoL care feature across all of the summaries. There are also considerations in respect of integrated approaches and social capital.
The theme of this month’s Research and Policy Update is Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
The research summaries help build a picture of the complexity of working with people with ABI, particularly in relation to assessment. This month, the summarised papers explore the challenge of working with ABI in a personalised way; the implications of the underlying principles of the Mental Capacity Act in assessment of an individual with ABI; the response to ABI in non-specialist social care settings; and the significance of the living environment and support model to achieving outcomes with brain-injured individuals.
There are several highlighted considerations for practice in the research summaries this month. However, the research also highlights policy considerations that reflect dilemmas relating to personalisation, mental capacity, the knowledge and understanding of ABI across the social care workforce and the provision of accommodation and support that provides opportunity for individuals with ABI to rehabilitate in their communities.
This month’s Research and Policy Update examines the theme of Exploitation of Adults.
Research summaries explore the experience of young homeless adults; the re-victimisation of homeless adults who have been abused in childhood; the link between child sexual exploitation and the sexual exploitation of women; and finally the health needs of survivors of human trafficking. There are specific practice considerations in relation to policy, homelessness services and health services. However, perhaps the most striking and recurrent points in this month’s summaries are the links between homelessness, childhood abuse and the exploitation of adults. In this respect, there is much that gives cause for reflection on the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to preventative services.
There is a particular focus on sexual exploitation in this month’s research summaries. It should be acknowledged that there is a broad range of terminology in this subject area, not all of which is universally accepted as defining the issues. Language used in relation to sexual exploitation and its influence on perceptions of abuse is itself an area of much debate, which is also worth being mindful of. For each summary this month, RiPfA uses the terminology chosen by authors.
 Holly J and Lousley G (2014) The challenge of change – improving services for women involved in prostitution and substance use, Advances in Dual Diagnosis, 7, 2, 80 - 89
This month’s Research and Policy Update focuses upon parents who have care and support needs and are looking after young children.
Featured research summaries indicate the breadth of the theme, examining issues affecting parenting that are varied and distinct. The articles included examine the social participation of parents with learning disabilities, the impact of financial vulnerability on mothers’ and children’s wellbeing, the role of community practitioners where a parent has a life-threatening illness and links between maternal alcohol misuse and mental health problems. It is clear from the findings that a good understanding of specific parenting issues can improve outcomes for all family members.
Whilst it is wide ranging and often complex area, there are also common threads to work with individuals in relation to their role as parents. It is vital that the interrelated nature of the wellbeing of parent and child is understood and at the centre of this work. The significance of some key social care approaches is also apparent; particularly in relation to working with strengths, whole-family approaches to assessment, multi-agency and integrated working. These are just a few highlighted approaches that can support practitioners to fulfil their role in accordance with the Care Act 2014 guidance, which states:
‘The intention of the whole-family approach is for local authorities to take a holistic view of the person’s needs and to identify how the adult’s needs for care and support impact on family members or others in their support network.’
Care and Support Statutory Guidance (DH, 2016), paragraph 6.65. Issued under the Care Act. DH 2014
Following the last month’s Research and Policy Update on dementia, this month the RPU continues to look at age-related issues with research on ageing well.
Understanding what ‘ageing well’ means is essential when supporting older people to achieve the best possible outcomes. This can be a challenging area of work, because ageing well encompasses a number of aspects of later life and at a personal level will undoubtedly mean different things to different individuals. However, broadly speaking there are key strands to ageing well that social care practitioners and providers need to keep in mind.
Drawing upon the assets in our local neighbourhoods and considering what it means for older people to participate in communities are explored in this month’s research summaries. Assets are considered not just as the physical spaces in our neighbourhoods, but as the local sense of citizenship and engagement across all generations. Research includes attention to how day centres might support social connectedness and a study of engagement in the arts in later life (an area of participation that is sometimes linked to social capital and of growing interest in ageing studies). What it means to be an age-friendly community is also examined, exploring the language and culture around ageing as well as more inclusive approaches to service design.
Dementia Awareness Week is 15-21 May and as part of RiPfA’s work in this area we have themed our May RPU on working with people who are living with dementia. The research articles cover topics including mindfulness, person-centred care for people living with dementia and engagement with nature and the outdoors.
This month’s RPU theme is empowering people who have a learning disability. One of the key themes of the Care Act is for an individual to have choice and control over their care, support and the choose the options best for them. By empowering people they are better placed to make informed decisions.This month’s research articles explore empowerment and parenting for people with a learning disability.
Our research summaries include:
This month’s RPU theme is workforce development. At a time when budgets are challenging, it is important to consider workforce issues. This month’s research articles explore mentoring, training, staff satisfaction and staff support needs.
Welcome to our Research and Policy Update, RiPfA’s monthly digest of documents useful for implementing the Care Act. Each month features research articles that are themed on a particular issue related to Care Act implementation, as well as the last month’s policy highlights. We’d be really interested in your feedback – please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to comment.
This month’s RPU theme is mental health and social work practice. Mental health was long perceived as mental illness, but in fact is spectrum of illness to wellness, and the Care Act recognises this in its statements on wellbeing. Social work has a large part to play in mental health intervention; with clinicians being able working closely with individuals and their communities, there is the opportunity to improve wellbeing.
This month’s theme is carers, which is a subject pivotal to the Care Act, and with approximately five and half million unpaid carers in England alone (Carers UK), it’s important to understand the varied issues for this group of people.
Our research summaries include: