Edited by Kirsten Stalker.
This is a welcome addition to the developing literature on informal family care. It is up to date on many of the main issues concerning carers, and it offers some new insights or ways of thinking about current debates and policy concerns.
The book’s nine chapters are written in an accessible style, covering carers and assessment, carers’ participation in policy and practice, carers and employment, the legal framework for caring, caring relationships, diversity among carers, support or empowerment issues, and the difficult area of “good enough” caring. A useful review of key concepts and debates is also included.
A chapter that I found particularly interesting was on “Getting to grips with poor care”, which was concerned with what constitutes “care which is not good enough”. The authors explored this area directly with carers and their families through the use of six vignettes or case studies. Research of this kind can help to highlight a sensitive and hidden area which has major implications for policy and practice. The other chapters also challenge us to think critically about key issues that confront daily the lives of carers and their families.
Saul Becker is professor of social policy and social care, Loughborough University.