By David Challis, Robin Darton, Lynne Johnson, Malcolm Stone and
ISBN 1 85742 184 1 (hardback)
1 85742 190 6 (paperback)
In the past two years the market has been flooded with books on
care management, some of which have been helpful and others which
have not given much insight into what is happening in practice.
Many practitioners may hold the view that few academics know what
is happening in the real world. The people involved in the Personal
Social Services Research Unit at Kent University have always
produced interesting and lively material from their research. This
publication is no exception and anyone involved in care management
will find something of interest.
It is about the Darlington Community Care Project, designed to
provide a community-based alternative to long-stay hospital care
for physically frail elderly people. This pilot study (one of 28
funded by the former Department of Health and Social Security) ran
from 1985 to 1988 and was then incorporated into the local
mainstream service system. Readers may question the value of
reading about a project which ran a decade ago, but valuable
lessons can be learned. The authors are realistic about the
successes and pitfalls of the project.
The text goes into great detail, for example, about the local
geographical areas and their histories, and services provided in
these areas. Once the book explains the care management model and
the methods employed in setting up the project some repetition does
Most useful and relevant are the chapters which describe the
actual practices. The strength of this book is the attention given
to detail. The text, which is clear and well written, is
extensively illustrated by tables, figures, boxes with key points
and case studies. This is invaluable to the reader who gains a
clear insight into how workers were trained, illustrations of
training programmes for home care assistants, what services were
provided (tasks done and hours provided), how workers felt about
the services they were providing, how different professionals came
together and the outcomes of the services provided.
I was pleased the authors gave attention to what happened after
the project finished. This is important, as what would be the point
of writing about something which has no relevance today?
Many practitioners feel frustrated that the systems they are
working within are not providing adequate resources, mainly because
of budget constraints. This book gives us evidence of good practice
but also issues to think about for the future development of care
Jacki Pritchard is a freelance trainer and consultant and
author of The Abuse Of Older People, Good Practice In Child
Protection and Good Practice In Supervision.