The social care system is failing to deliver person-centred care because of inadequate funding, training and practice, a major study warns today.
Services remain inflexible and practitioners continue to make unhelpful assumptions about what users can and cannot do, according to Supporting People: Towards a person-centred approach, a book launched today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Based on interviews with users, carers, practitioners and managers, and written by a group of researchers that includes service users, it is an attempt to define person-centred care and identify barriers to implementing it.
Researchers found a consensus among users and practitioners over what person-centred support meant, with interviewees highlighting the importance of relationships between staff and users, of practitioners listening to users and offering accessible information.
However, they found this was being undermined by inadequate funding that rationed access to care and adversely affected quality, inadequate training and high turnover in the workforce and inflexible and disempowering support in the community and in residential care.
It also found that service users faced a lack of information on care provision, poor access to mainstream services such as transport and education and continuing disability discrimination.
“Social care services are routinely failing to safeguard the basic human and civil rights of many service users, limiting their lives and restricting their opportunities,” said one of the authors, Peter Beresford, who also chairs user organisation Shaping Our Lives.
“There has been a failure overall to bring about change in social care in line with what service users say they want. And this was true even before the current round of cuts.”
It found “radical and systemic reform” was needed to deliver person-centred care with social care transformed into a better-funded, universal service, rather than a stigmatised service concentrated on those in greatest needs, with much greater involvement from users and a better trained workforce.
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