We highlight practical lessons from policy theories on how to promote equity through transformational changes in policymaking. Health, education and gender are at the heart of such equity policy agendas. Their advocates seek transformational changes to: policy, to reject a ‘neoliberal’ paradigm and address the social and economic causes of unfair inequalities, and policymaking, to foster collaboration and holistic government. However, they also report a wide gap between aspirations and outcomes, and many seek insights from policy studies on how to close it. Our aim is to use their common engagement with policy theories to connect their agendas, foster intersectoral dialogue, and ensure that their contributions are greater than the sum of their parts. A common take-home message is to be cautious about any attempt to turn a provocative transformational political project into a technical process containing a ‘toolbox’ or ‘playbook’.
This article describes findings from a project that explored what happens to people with dementia (PWDs) following discharge from a general hospital to a residential care home. In 15 out of 109 cases referred to a hospital psychiatric liaison team, admission to a residential care home was indicated during the hospital stay. This ‘last resort’ for families, following repeated hospital admissions and a deteriorating condition, was accepted when all involved agreed that it was in the best interests of the PWDs. Four months after the move, carers reflected on their criteria for choosing the home, their expectations and whether these were met. Carers’ own wellbeing improved and their mental distress reduced as the PWDs appeared settled and safer. However, the findings suggest a continuing key role for family carers of PWDs in care homes and emphasises the need for advocacy for PWDs without such support.