The purpose of this paper is to report on findings from an evaluative research study which looked at a timed intervention model of practice comprising of up to 24 weeks of intensive meetings with adult service users set up by one local authority in England, to prevent and delay the need for care and support. A particular focus of this paper is on adults who hoard.
The study employed a mixed-methods design, consisting of interviews with service users (n=13), social workers (n=3), social work managers (n=2) and stakeholders from external services and agencies (n=6). It included a costing analysis of staff time and an analysis of goals of service users and “satisfaction with life” self-report questionnaires (n=20), completed at pre- and post-intervention stages.
There was evidence that social workers used strengths, relationship-based and outcome-based focused approaches in their work. The techniques used by social workers to engage, achieve change and assess effectiveness with service users varied. These techniques included the use of photographs to enable the service user to map and assess their own progress over time, encouraging hoarders to declutter and reclaim their living space. The service users valued the time the social workers spent with them and the way that they were treated with sensitivity and respect.
The study focused on one local authority in England; there was no comparison group. This, and the small sample size, means that statistical generalisations cannot be made and only limited conclusions can be drawn from the quantitative data.
The paper provides insights into the work undertaken by social workers with adults who hoard. It contributes to the body of knowledge on effective social work interventions with adults who hoard.
This research was funded by a local authority in England. The findings relating to social work intervention with adults who self-neglect through hoarding was presented at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seminar series “Safeguarding Adults and Legal Literacy” (SALLY) conference at Bournemouth University.
Anka, A., Sorensen, P., Brandon, M. and Bailey, S. (2017), "Social work intervention with adults who self-neglect in England: responding to the Care Act 2014", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 67-77. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-11-2016-0027
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