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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Supporting active participation, engagement and diverse voices
Article Type: Editorial From: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Volume 15, Issue 1.
Taking over the editorial reins of Quality in Ageing and Older Adults from Dr Ron Iphofen, its founding editor since its inception 14 years ago, is both challenging and heartening. The special challenge for me will be to try to meet the very high standard that Ron has consistently set in achieving the difficult balancing act in bringing in excellent research and commentary to support and enhance quality in ageing for older adults and in ensuring that it reaches the wide range of audiences with an interest in doing this. It is heartening that he has set such a good example of how this can be achieved through commitment to scholarship, humanity and collegiality. He also leaves us enriched by networks and conversations which we can now continue to draw on as we take our next steps in taking paths which he has already helped us to set and the new directions his work has opened up for us. Ron richly deserved his presentation of the Emerald Literati Award for outstanding service and we wish him much enjoyment in having more time to spend following some of his many other interests which include the international regulation of ethical standards in social science. The kinds of ethical dilemmas caring can entail in real life are dramatically set out in Ron's biographical article which opens this year's issue.
One part of Ron's legacy has been his successful encouragement of the journal's responsiveness to growing trends in seeking to explore how older people's lives can enable their continuing well-being and active participation in the face of many types of external and personal change. We will continue to actively promote this search and seek to evidence this particularly through highlighting appropriate participative and inclusive research methods and technological and service innovations. We will also aim to bring to the fore issues which may be overlooked such as older peoples’ mental as well as physical health and new types of social support for older people and their carers.
The importance of taking into account multiple perspectives and types of resource for assessing and facilitating quality is well demonstrated in the articles offered in this issue. This is graphically exemplified in a moving biography-based article courageously drawn from Ron Iphofen's and his wife Carol's own deeply personal experience of closely-involved caring and decision making for Carol's mother as her dementia advanced its hold on all of their experiences of intertwined lives. The raw narratives taken from their own accounts of unfolding events over a number of years provides powerful insights into the emotional depth-charges and consequential actions which they found they had to address in their own roles as carers and close family members, variably supported by the services available to them.
The challenges for collaborative action set out by Ron are picked up by Morgan et al. in their consideration of the emerging place of co-production in care services in Wales. As they observe, this is a process which “appears potentially transformational within health and social care implementation”. Their work provides an encouraging example of people becoming active partners, rather than simply consumers or “consultees”, in shaping what is delivered. Their work helps build evidence to critique of the current outcomes of top-down service models, both in terms of quality and also their cost-effectiveness.
Life course accounts drawn from multiple methods of group discussion, digital storytelling, interviews strongly underpin work about and with older women migrants living in mid-Wales set out in Saltus’ paper. This can help broaden our understanding of dignity in encompassing the impact of the multiple disadvantaging social positions of these women for gaining respectful treatment in today's social and policy climate. This supports their call for more attention by policy makers and practitioners to first-hand details for life consequences if they are to develop effective interventions.
Early identification of dementia is increasingly recommended, but current evidence suggests that many operational barriers to service professionals being able to do this currently exist. Milne's paper reports on projects which offer two models of intervention: third sector collaboration with primary care professionals to encourage dementia case finding and providing group support to relatives of those recently diagnosed with dementia. Her conclusions that primary care professionals can be engaged to proactively, and more routinely, screen for dementia are encouraging, but her highlighting the importance of accompanying support for families facing the implications of such diagnoses, resonates strongly with Ron Iphofen's paper.
Van Lente and Power's Ireland-based study of assessment and care planning in long-stay centres for older people as national standards are introduced, evidences the medical professional dominance of standardised arrangements for co-ordination, record-keeping and care plans focusing on problems rather than more flexible and emergent person-centred approaches. They suggest that assessment offers opportunities to facilitate more proactive imports from a wider range of inter-disciplinary professional and direct carers which can promote more person-centred care in this service.
We hope this issue therefore will help both demonstrate and encourage the continuing distinctive contribution of our journal to support and evidence ways of enabling the active engagement and participation of the diverse voices of older people. I look forward to the responses of our readers and to working with our authors, our excellent team of reviewers, our Editorial Group and the Emerald publications team to do this in relevant and stimulating ways. Many thanks again to Ron for providing such a productive working environment for us all.