Journal Article

Practitioners’ Documentation of Assessment and Care Planning in Social Care: The Opportunities for Organizational Learning

Michele Foster, Jennifer Harris, Karen Jackson and Caroline Glendinning

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 546-560
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl366
Practitioners’ Documentation of Assessment and Care Planning in Social Care: The Opportunities for Organizational Learning

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This paper analyses practitioners’ documentation of social care assessments and care plans for disabled adults of working age. The data were collected in the course of an innovative project that introduced new outcome-focused documentation into routine social care assessment, care management and review processes. The project aimed to encourage practitioners to focus during these processes on the full range of outcomes that individual disabled adults might seek to achieve; and identify the appropriate services for realizing those outcomes. Analysis of the new documentation provides insights into the diverse range of priorities and outcomes that service users aspire to achieve as a result of receiving services, and the service inputs that were agreed between practitioners and service users. However, despite the new documentation, the majority of both outcomes and services that were recorded tended to cluster around a fairly narrow range of conventional social care service functions. Moreover, the emphasis of both outcomes and service inputs differed between different groups of social care professionals. In the context of current policies to make social care services more individualized and outcome-focused, each of these findings has major organizational implications. The opportunities for using routine practitioner documentation to identify areas of organizational and professional change and learning are discussed.

Keywords: social care; outcome-focused services; disabled adults

Journal Article.  5315 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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