Health and Social Care

Textbooks, monographs and policy-focused books on our Health and Social Care list push forward the boundaries of teaching, theory, policy and practice. The list covers areas including global health, health inequalities and research into policy and practice. 

Key series include Transforming Care which provides a crucial platform for scholars researching early childhood care, care for adults with disabilities and long-term care for frail older people, and the Sociology of Health Professions, offering high-quality, original work in the sociology of health professions with an innovative focus on their likely future direction. Our leading journal in the area is the International Journal of Care and Caring.

Health and Social Care

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The book begins with a critique of how and why innovation is increasingly the framework of choice in the UK for finding new and better ways of responding to difficult social problems that have been difficult to address via conventional practice models and systems. We note that there is neither a shared definition of what constitutes innovation in the UK social care sector nor a comprehensive understanding of what might be expected within innovation projects at different stages in their journeys. This chapter sets out how the authors have sought to address these gaps in understanding through a novel ethnographic study (the Innovate Project) of how six statutory safeguarding services and third sector organisations introduced new approaches to addressing extra-familial risks and harms affecting young people. The study methodology is introduced, and the three frameworks upon which innovations were built (Contextual Safeguarding, Transitional Safeguarding and Trauma-informed Practice) are described. Finally, an outline is provided of what the ensuing chapters will cover.

Open access

What happens when system leaders believe, or want, innovation to work but are presented with evidence that it might not be possible? And what pressure to perform are researchers and practitioners under in order to demonstrate that innovations can and do work? This chapter explores the context of innovations and the conditions that compel researchers and professionals to perform success. Using the concept of the primary task, this chapter examines the work of researchers and professionals involved in the innovation process and how they navigate the complex ruling relations that govern their actions. The chapter considers the often hidden work of professionals to hold innovations alive, often at a personal cost. Instead of examining and evaluating the success of innovations in sites, the authors ask, ‘What if these innovations cannot work?’. In raising this question, the chapter invites readers to explore five provocations on the limits of innovating for children and young people affected by extra-familial risks and harms in the current context of social care.

Open access

While welfare states and work organisations often provide policies to facilitate a reconciliation of paid work and informal care, the literature pays little attention to employees’ actual capabilities to engage with such policies. In this article, we apply the capabilities approach to interview data from managers and employees in the Netherlands to understand employees’ use or non-use of the policies. We found that job flexibility may help workers reconcile work and care in the short run but that respondents with greater job flexibility reported more health problems than respondents with less flexibility, which calls into question the sustainability of these policies.

Open access

Using a propensity score matching approach, this study evaluates the effect of caring on the physical health, mental health and subjective well-being of Chilean older people. The average treatment effect was not significant in any of the outcomes to physical health. However, older carers – and those who care intensely – were more likely to have depressive and anxious symptomatology and lower life satisfaction than older non-carers. Interventions should consider strategies that favour mental health and avoid caregiver burden, considering the interaction between caring and the challenges of ageing. This could improve the quality of life of carers and those being cared for.

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Sleep has been recognised as compromised in dementia care. This study aims to represent the experiences and needs of informal carers via sleep-related accounts. Retrospective interviews were conducted with 20 carers concerning sleep changes across the trajectory of dementia care. Key interactive narratives were around: ‘sleep as my sacrifice’; tensions between identities of being a ‘sleeper’ versus ‘guardian’; and ‘sleep as a luxury’. Maintaining healthy sleep and preferable sleep practices is challenging while balancing the responsibilities of dementia-related care. Acknowledging sleep as a sociological practice enables a greater understanding of carers’ nuanced experience and support needs.

Open access
Free access

This article expands understanding of the experiences of working carers by analysing their care activities and applying cognitive appraisal theory to explore how different resources affect carers’ appraisal processes. A total of 18 carers from the UK and Hong Kong took part in a qualitative daily diary study. The contributions of the article include providing a broader conceptualisation of care activities and considering the implications of cognitive appraisals and resources in the experience of combining work and care. The findings provide insights into future research design and support development.

Open access