Book review: Supporting relationships in the care home setting

Supporting Relationships and Friendships. A Workbook for Social Care Workers Suzan Collins, Jessica Kingsley Publishing

Supporting Relationships and Friendships. A Workbook for Social Care Workers

Suzan Collins, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 116 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB

ISBN: 978-1-84905-072-2 £14.99


This book is primarily aimed at workers in care homes and sets out to provide information and exercises to help readers gain knowledge and skills in supporting service users maintain and develop friendships, writes John Percival.

The book’s style is accessible and the exercises, case studies and advice should help readers focus and reflect on important and relevant issues, including self-esteem, sexual relationships, professional boundaries, and confidentiality.

There are useful tips on helping service users with dementia remember and keep track of who is in their family, handy checklists of activities that might interest service users, and practical guidance on assisting service users with their social skills.

There is also purposeful reference to legislation and standards that highlight good professional practice in this field, as well as useful application of key professional values.

This is really a workbook for staff in care homes. There is little attention to domiciliary care workers in the wider community, particularly those with little time or remit to directly engage with people’s friendship needs, who may benefit from greater knowledge of, and liaison with, relevant voluntary sector organisations.

The book also lacks differentiation between service users, in respect of friendship experiences and support needs.

Older people in their 80s will have a depth and range of experience, in forming and sustaining relationships, that is significantly and qualitatively different from that of younger people with learning disabilities, or those with mental health problems or challenging behaviour.

Consideration of these differences and their implications would have been welcome.

John Percival is research associate at the Open University’s faculty of health and social care

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