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Personalised social care for adults with disabilities: a problematic concept for frontline practice

By J. Harris, H. Morgan, C. Glendinning, M. Foster and K. Jackson


This paper explores the complexities and contradictions of frontline practice that pose problems for personalised social care through enhanced choice. It draws on semi-structured interviews with community care workers, social workers, occupational therapists and care managers in two social care departments. Practitioners interviewed were asked about their current assessment and documentation system, including the assessment documents currently used; how they approached information gathering and the topics they explored with service users; and their experience of documenting assessment and care management. The paper argues that the validity and sustainability of personalised social care in frontline practice relies on developing a thorough understanding of the complex and implicit assessment processes operating at the service user/practitioner interface and the inevitable tensions that arise for practitioners associated with the organisational context and broader service environment. The findings demonstrate the variability among practitioners in how they collect information and more importantly, the critical role practitioners occupy in determining the kinds of topics to be explored during the assessment process. In so doing, it shows how practitioners can exert control over the decision-making process. More importantly, it provides some insight into how such processes are shaped by the constraints of the organisational context and broader service environment. Complexities and contradictions may be an inherent part of frontline practice. The issues discussed in this paper, however, highlight potential areas that might be targeted in conjunction with implementing personalised social care through enhanced choice for disabled people

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2006.00602.x
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