Matthew’s Book

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‘Matthew’s Book’ is a small project but it has generated a big response. The book is on an iPad. It provides a multi-media guide to Matthew and his needs. The book will follow Matthew wherever he goes, including hospital, to ensure that all staff working with him can quickly find out about the essential aspects of his care .. and what good practice means for him. Continue reading

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Can individuals choose what is in their best interests?

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Choices about how we live our lives are nearly always made in a social context. When we make a choice we have others in mind. We are affected by what others want and need, what others think about what we’re doing, and how others will react. Continue reading

A new look at day centres

There’s a part of our welfare system that is almost invisible, at least as far as the literature is concerned: the day centre. Day centres are the poor relation of welfare, given little regard and seen by many as a relic of the old days of institutional care. They are deeply unfashionable. In some areas they’re seen as ripe for abolition. And yet, among the people who rely on day centres, there is still strong support for them. Those people, however, rarely have any choice about whether the centre stays or goes. When is comes to choice and control, choosing to keep the local day centre open (when the financial pressure is for closure) is so outside the prevailing orthodoxy that it’s usually ignored. Continue reading

Choice and control is not as simple as it looks

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People making choices about how they are supported is at the centre of the personalisation project. It seems such an obvious and simple idea: of course people are going to know more about what they want to get out of life than a public official, no matter how sympathetic or qualified. While ‘client self-determination’ has been part of the post-war social work tradition, it was often qualified by the caveat that the ‘client’ may not always know what was in their own interests. The disabled people’s movement, however, challenged the prerogative of state welfare to define both the problem and the remedy. Continue reading

Gig Buddies

Gig Buddies is a project that pairs up people with and without learning disabilities to be friends and to go to music and other events together. The project got started in March 2013 in the East Sussex area. They’re part of the Stay Up Late group of projects.

They regularly recruit new volunteers to buddy up with a person who has a learning disability. At the moment, they’re particularly looking for volunteers in the Eastbourne and Hastings area in East Sussex.

More information here.

How social care assessments overlook the ‘us’ in families

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Martin is recovering from a stroke. He now needs help with activities like dressing, washing, shopping and cooking. Some activities like going to work and driving are right off the agenda. His mobility and communication are impaired and at times he feels useless. But worst for Martin, he feels he is no longer the husband, father, grandfather, friend and colleague he used to be. Continue reading

Why measures of adult social care don’t work

Getting to grips with the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) is no simple matter. We’ve just been given access to some of the outcomes data on a new website: http://ascof.hscic.gov.uk/Outcome . The technology behind it is impressive and it’s clear that the effort behind the whole ASCOF exercise is substantial.

We’re told by DH that “The ASCOF measures how well the care and support system achieves the things we would expect for ourselves and for our friends and relatives. People who use care and support, carers and the public can use this information to see how well their local authority is performing, helping people to hold their council to account for the quality of the care they provide, commission or arrange.” This sounds good but it’s a claim we have to look at with some scepticism. This is for three main reasons: Continue reading