Journal Article

Keyworkers Re-examined: Good practice, quality of care and empowerment in residential care of older people

ROSEMARY E. BLAND

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 27, issue 4, pages 585-603
Published in print August 1997 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 1997 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjsw.a011243
Keyworkers Re-examined: Good practice, quality of care and empowerment in residential care of older people

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Social work definitions of ‘good practice’ in residential care which were originally developed in work with children and young people have also been applied to residential settings for other user groups, including older people. However, any link between such elements of practice and positive outcomes for users has not always been demonstrated. The introduction of market principles and orientations into social welfare in the 1980s re-defined the social work ‘client’ as a ‘consumer’ with the associated power to make choices in the area of social care. The success with which such an approach can be applied to services for people who are very often, not in a position to exercise much choice, is debatable. Alongside the notion of the ‘consumer’ or ‘user’ of services has grown the ideology of ‘empowerment’ of people who use social work services. Drawing on findings from a recent study, this article explores the contribution of the keyworker role to good practice and the empowerment of older people living in residential homes. It concludes that, because their understanding of the concept and practice is largely undeveloped, the role as currently interpreted is not consonant with good practice and tends rather to reinforce the power of staff.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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