Social work intervention with adults who self-neglect in England: responding to the Care Act 2014

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Purpose – The paper reports on findings from an evaluative research study which looked at a timed intervention model of practice comprising of up to 24 weeks of intensive meetings with adult service users set up by one local authority in England, to prevent and delay the need for care and support. A particular focus of this paper is adults who hoard.

Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a mixed-methods design, consisting of interviews with service users (n=13); social workers (n=3); social work managers (n=2); and stakeholders from external services and agencies (n=6). It included a costings analysis of staff time and an analysis of service users’ goals and of ‘satisfaction with life’ self-report questionnaires (n=20), completed at pre- and post-intervention stages.

Findings – There was evidence that social workers used strengths, relationship-based and outcome-focused approaches in their work. The techniques used by social workers to engage, achieve change and assess effectiveness with service users varied. These included the use of photographs to enable the service user to map and assess their own progress over time, encouraging hoarders to declutter and reclaim their living space. The service users valued the time the social workers spent with them and the way that they were treated with
sensitivity and respect.

Research limitations/implications – The study focused on one local authority in England; there was no comparison group. This, and the small sample size, means that statistical generalisations cannot be made and only limited conclusions can be drawn from the quantitative data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adult Protection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017

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