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Casting light on the distinctive contribution of social work in multidisciplinary teams for older people

Willis, Paul ORCID:, Lloyd, Liz, Hammond, Jackie, Milne, Alisoun, Nelson-Becker, Holly, Perry, Emma, Ray, Mo, Richards, Sally and Tanner, Denise 2021. Casting light on the distinctive contribution of social work in multidisciplinary teams for older people. The British Journal of Social Work 52 (1) , pp. 480-497. 10.1093/bjsw/bcab004

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The current policy emphasis in adult social care in England is on promoting independence, preventing or delaying the need for more intensive support and the provision of personalised services. However, there is little evidence available on how social workers (SWs) identify and meet the complex needs of older service users in practice. In this article, we present findings from a study of innovative social work practice with older adults in England (2018–2019). We present five case studies of social care and integrated services in which SWs are integral team members. Twenty-one individuals participated in interviews; this included service managers and practitioners with social work backgrounds, and other professionals, including nurses and occupational therapists. Specific practices contributing to innovative service delivery included: the strong demonstration of social work values influencing the practice of multidisciplinary teams; positive risk management; importance of timing and ensuring continuity of relationships; and, the proactive application of legal knowledge to promote older people’s rights. While some of these features can be seen as returning to the ‘heart’ of social work, we argue that they are promising in forging new paths for social work with older people that turn away from more managerialist- and procedurally driven approaches.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0045-3102
Funders: NIHR School for Social Care Research
Date of Acceptance: 8 January 2021
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 16:45

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