Being a Grandparent: Research Evidence, Key Themes and Policy Recommendations


Bob Broad, The Grandparents Association

ISBN 978-0-952026785, £9.99

Bob Broad has done well to find and review 122 articles and books on an increasingly important topic – the issues faced in being a grandparent and full-time carer, writes Robert Bullard.

The coverage is exhaustive – from childcare and class, to legislation and learning – and much of the research uncovered is important (for example, grandparents as confidantes after divorce and separation) and useful (ethnicity and changing family structures).

But the booklet, though well presented, is confined to a review of the literature rather than an introduction to the topic, and as such may be of more use to researchers than practitioners, and those already familiar with the subject.

It catalogues the evidence – even when there is little to summarise – but it lacks a narrative thread or, until the recommendations, a clear policy stance. The issues are rarely introduced or their significance explained, and it is the research evidence rather than the reviewer that speaks.

As a result, the potential impact of the booklet – that might, for example, have been achieved by including quotes from grandparents, examples of good practice, or the work of support organisations – may be lost.

This is an informative piece of research, but one to dip into for information and ideas, rather than to sit down and read and be inspired by.

Robert Bullard is a freelance journalist. He writes on social care and rural issues for the national press

Eating for Health in Care Homes: A Practical Nutrition Handbook


The Royal Institute of Public Health

ISBN 1901660 001, £27

For anyone who has an involvement or interest in the nutritional health of older people this handbook will be useful. For every care home worker it is a must, writes Karen Webb.

It offers a comprehensive guide to the provision of a healthy balanced diet. It includes sections on age-related illness, nutritional problems in older people and offers lots of tips and ideas for good practice.

The handbook is a jargon-free, easy read that retains the reader’s interest and will aid compliance with national minimum standards. As a manager this is important to me, as is knowing that when I ask the chef and care staff to read this they will find it of interest.

The book contains a balance of factual information, legislation requirements, practical solutions and problem-solving. Every care home will learn something from this publication. Its checklists offer a useful self-assessment tool to help identify risk factors and would be an asset to quality assurance processes.

Reading this handbook has left me wanting to discuss new ideas with our chef and put our own menus to the test with the checklists. Care staff will also be encouraged to take a more active interest in nutrition in the home.

Karen Webb is a registered care home manager for Ivybank Care

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