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Caring relationships and efficient social care provision: Can an ethic of care provide a better foundation for responding to care needs in later life?

Sue Hollinrake (School of Applied Social Sciences, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, United Kingdom)
Will Thomas (University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, United Kingdom)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 8 June 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the nature of support that helps older people continue living in their own homes for as long as they wish to.

Design/methodology/approach

The research made use of a participatory approach in which service users, service providers and commissioners were involved in the design of the approach in addition to contributing to the research as participants in their own right.

Findings

This paper presents analysis from the research which focuses on the importance of caring relationships for providing a support mechanism. The authors question whether budget cuts and efficiency drives within statutory care providers preclude the notion of caring relationships.

Practical implications

The authors suggest, in the light of the evidence presented, that statutory service providers should acknowledge the role that caring relationships play in providing support for older people. Whilst budget cuts make providing support for caring relationships more challenging, the authors suggest that there is scope for delivering services and support in ways which promote the types of interactions which better support older people living independently.

Originality/value

The analysis presented here provides a distinctive, timely and thoughtful insight into support for older people at a time when public sector budgets are under increasing pressure.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research was funded by Suffolk County Council (UK), who contributed to and supported the use of a participant-led research design. The authors would also like to thank the participants for their contributions to the work.

Citation

Hollinrake, S. and Thomas, W. (2015), "Caring relationships and efficient social care provision: Can an ethic of care provide a better foundation for responding to care needs in later life?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 35 No. 5/6, pp. 419-436. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-08-2013-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited