The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of reforms designed to address economic and demographic challenges in England with reference to the authors’ own empirical work providing a critique of their impact and suggesting a way to improve the quality of social care for older people.
The research was a qualitative study conducted in a participatory manner in which older people were positioned as co-creators of the research study. This involved setting the scope of the study and identifying and refining the themes used in the analysis of an inquiry board and interviews.
The research findings highlight the threat of recent moves that emphasise “independence” and “self-management” particularly as they risk marginalising some groups of older people and reducing the quality of care. An alternative approach drawn from the ethics of care is suggested.
The research study focused on a narrow selection of older people and future work will wish to explore concepts of “care” and “independence” in additional contexts and of reforms in other geographies.
The researchers argue that the current reform agenda threatens the quality of care services and suggest improvements to the way in which services might be organised and presented.
It is intended that the research will contribute to social policy debates and particularly those that focus on social care. The study also looks to contribute to current work in the fields of critical gerontology, feminist ethics and the management of public services more generally.
The paper presents a novel and critical viewpoint of current social care policy in England and will therefore be of interest to policy-makers and to professionals.
The research was funded by a Local Authority with statutory responsibility for the provision of adult social care. The funders were actively involved in the research as described in the paper. The previous version of this paper was presented in the 8th International Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference, 10-12 July 2013, Manchester, UK. The authors thank the participants of the conference stream Critical Views on Health Care Management for their feedback.
Thomas, W. and Hollinrake, S. (2014), "Economic and demographic challenges for social care : A critical perspective on the management and delivery of care", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 653-673. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-10-2013-0223Download as .RIS
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