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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.
Family carers have high rates of stress, anxiety and depression, but there are also positive aspects of caregiving. The aim of this study is to explore correlates of caregiving competence, a positive aspect of caregiving, in 146 female family carers. Regression analyses identify that self-efficacy for controlling upsetting thoughts, caregiver preparedness and self-reassurance were significantly related to caregiving competence, after controlling for contextual variables. These findings indicate that mental health practitioners working with family carers should target positive psychosocial mechanisms, along with factors directly related to the caregiving situation, to enhance carer well-being and promote sustainable care.
This study examines whether care workers in Finland feel able to provide adequate care for older people and analyses the working conditions that limit them from providing it. One third of the respondents felt that they were not able to provide sufficient care for older people. This was seen as being due to excessive workloads, a general lack of staff and accompanying physical and mental burdens. Improving care workers’ working conditions would enhance their work–life balance and allow them to help older people avoid situations of care poverty, that is, to receive the level of care they deserve.
Eldercare arrangements are intricately woven and complex. While adult children are socially extolled as legitimate caregivers, ayahs working in ayah centres are making revolutionary strides in Kolkata. Drawing across this context, the article explores multiple essences of lived experiences through which care actors like ayahs, elderly care receivers, their kin and ayah-centre managers produce and reproduce ‘care practices’. These establish ayahs and ayah centres as a social resource for the elderly, enabling them to reflect on their mundane ageing and ‘personhood’ in Kolkata.
Caregiving for persons with severe mental health disorders is associated with higher stress levels and a lower quality of life. As rates of mental health disorders increase worldwide, the need for assisting familial caregivers with strategies to reduce stress is paramount. The present study examines the relationships between empathy (cognitive and affective), emotional intelligence and stress in these caregivers. A parallel mediation model demonstrates that cognitive empathy, in particular, partially mediated the negative relationship between emotional intelligence and stress, indicating the importance of cognitive empathy in caregiving. The results of this study can help design targeted interventions to reduce caregiver stress.
The article’s aim is to analyse the way in which informal care has become the object of public policy in Portugal. The law is compared with those of other European countries, and the article identifies issues around the framing of the law and where it leads to adverse consequences and social risks to family carers. Two focus groups were conducted with caregivers. A thematic content analysis allowed the identification of difficult caregiving experiences and gender inequalities throughout the cycle of family life. Selectivity criteria, based on income, limit access for thousands of carers in need, and the new care regulation has become a policy to combat poverty.
Homecare providers face acute staff shortages, yet identifying new candidates with values aligned to person-centred care is challenging. This study aimed to develop and provisionally evaluate situational judgement tests to support recruitment. A total of 11 in-depth interviews with homecare workers yielded 59 ‘critical incidents’ in which person-centred values were tested. Draft scenarios were developed alongside behavioural response options, and a scoring key was devised by 15 people with lived experiences. After piloting, the final situational judgement tests comprised 11 scenarios with 63 response options. Homecare providers reported high acceptability and feasibility, feeling that the situational judgement tests could support recruitment. Future research will test their psychometric properties.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore stark gendered care inequalities and the inadequacy of care provision across states. This article presents a feminist-ethics-of-care-informed discourse analysis of the representation of care that emerged at the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality – an innovative government-created citizen deliberation process. It identifies how care was represented as a ‘problem’ of both gender inequality and the market, and uncovers key silences, which ignored care as a universal need of all citizens and the significance of care networks to sustaining caring. We propose the necessity of ethics-of-care-based understandings to address post-pandemic care challenges.
University provides a unique context for carers and care workers; however, there is a paucity of research aimed at understanding experiences of caring, specifically for self-harm, within this setting. This article reports on 24 interviews with informal carers and professional care workers (aged 18–55 years) with experience of supporting students who self-harm during their time at a UK University. Identifying with the role of care, understanding self-harm and the challenges of providing support in a university environment were explored. Findings highlight key areas for universities and student support to address in order to support students, family members and professionals in caring roles.
Unpaid carers form the backbone of health and care systems. Caregiving can be rewarding but can also diminish carer well-being. Many policies recognise that outcome-focused assessments are the foundation of effective support. In practice, carers can struggle to access these, preventing the realisation of carer-oriented policy goals. This systematic search and review explored literature concerning adult carer outcome assessment, retrieving 21 eligible studies spanning work in five countries. A narrative synthesis highlighted the skilled nature of the practice involved, alongside long-standing implementation barriers. We make evidence-based recommendations for policy implementation, with potential to improve outcomes for carers, practitioners and organisations.
Old age is still an under-researched stage in the lives of people with a learning disability. Providing support to people towards the end of their lives can be challenging for services and involves complex ethical decision-making processes. This study explores the experiences of social care staff in two life-sharing communities where adults with a learning disability and staff live together. Four main themes were identified, highlighting different dimensions of care. These included an emphasis on relational care, responsive care and collaborative care, and an acknowledgement of barriers to care and caring that allowed people to live and die within the communities.