Update on strategy for supporting people with disabilities
The government published documents that reported progress on, and updated, its cross-departmental strategy for supporting people with disabilities.
Source: Fulfilling Potential: Making it happen — Strategy progress update, Department for Work and Pensions
An article examined the outcomes from utilizing a care pathway-based approach in a specialist intellectual disability inpatient unit. It said that the approach resulted in increased turnover of patients, increased capacity for unit admissions, reduced lengths of hospital stays, and timely assessments and treatments. It said that the approach provided better outcomes for patients, and was a means by which to achieve multi-agency working and accountability.
Source: John Devapriam, Regi Alexander, Rohit Gumber, Judith Pither, and Satheesh Gangadharan, 'Impact of care pathway-based approach on outcomes in a specialist intellectual disability inpatient unit', Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Volume 18 Number 3
A report examined recent progress in the United Kingdom towards the realization of key rights for people with disabilities, in the context of the global financial crisis and austerity policies. It raised concerns about the impact of the social sector size criteria (commonly referred to as the 'bedroom tax'), as well as other changes such as the introduction of personal independence payments, employment and support allowance, and the work capability assessment. The report said that the Care Act 2014 had been a positive development, but did not sufficiently protect people living with higher levels of support need, and benefits changes (in particular, the closure of the independent living fund) provided no guarantees that people's levels of support would be maintained. The report made a range of recommendations.
Source: Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era, Just Fair
A report examined progress against the aims of the 2008 Independent Living Strategy. It said that there was no evidence of significant progress in improving choice and control and, although there had been an increase in the use of personal budgets for social care, there were also limitations to the effective delivery of services, and the restrictions in how personal budgets or direct payments could be used inhibited choice and control. The report also raised concerns including: services for older people; mental health services; employment prospects and support; access to appropriate accommodation; and declining levels of income.
Source: Jenny Morris, Independent Living Strategy: A review of progress, In Control/Disability Rights UK
An article examined findings from a qualitative study of decision-making by people with dementia in England. It offered a critique of existing theoretical perspectives on agency, particularly in relation to rationality, language, and individualized agency, and argued that although people with dementia might lack deliberative capacity, they could demonstrate creative capacity for agency. The article called for a more expansive concept of agency, informed by the experiences of people with cognitive disabilities.
Source: Geraldine Boyle, 'Recognising the agency of people with dementia', Disability & Society, Volume 29 Number 7
A report by a committee of MPs said that achieving the government's agenda to change and improve adult social care would require unprecedented levels of co-ordinated working between government departments, between central and local government, and across local authorities and health bodies. The committee questioned whether expectations were too high, and the report outlined concerns and made recommendations in three areas: for collaboration across all bodies involved in the care system; for better understanding of the capacity of the system and whether money was reaching frontline services; and for the government's oversight arrangements to reflect the overriding importance of quality of care. The committee raised concerns about the nature of employment contracts in the care sector and, in particular, the use of zero-hours contracts and the numbers of staff earning the minimum wage.
Source: Adult Social Care in England, Sixth Report (Session 201415), HC 518, House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee, TSO
A report examined recent progress by the United Kingdom towards the realization of certain key rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, seeking to assess the extent to which the United Kingdom was upholding these rights, and whether recent austerity policies had resulted in retrogression. In particular, the report examined the rights to independent living, work, social security, social protection, and an adequate standard of living, and it concluded that government policies were compromising enjoyment of these fundamental rights, causing significant hardship to people with disabilities.
Source: Jane Young, Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era, Just Fair
An article examined perceived barriers to the delivery of high quality palliative care for people with dementia in England. It identified four broad themes: ambivalence towards the systematization of care; disconnection between services; different assumptions about training needs; and negotiation of risk.
Source: Nathan Davies, Laura Maio, Krish Vedavanam, Jill Manthorpe, Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, and Steve Iliffe, 'Barriers to the provision of high-quality palliative care for people with dementia in England: a qualitative study of professionals' experiences', Health and Social Care in the Community, Volume 22 Issue 4
An article examined media scandals involving nursing homes for older persons in Canada, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, considering whether and how different social, political, and economic contexts might influence events. It said that a number of common factors were present in all of the scandals and, while government action was taken in each case, it generally did not address the underlying structural conditions.
Source: Liz Lloyd, Albert Banerjee, Charlene Harrington, Frode Jacobsen, and Marta Szebehely, 'It's a scandal! Comparing the causes and consequences of nursing home media scandals in five countries', International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Volume 34 Issue 1/2
An audit report said that the introduction of the assessments process for personal independence payments had resulted in far fewer claim decisions than it expected, despite the number of new claims being in line with expectations. It said that, by October 2013, over 166,000 people had started new claims, but 92,000 had still to be assessed and the Department for Work and Pensions was unable to tell claimants how long they were likely to wait. The DWP had postponed the reassessment of most existing disability living allowance claims. The report recommended that the DWP should: set out a clear plan for informing claimants about the likely delays; ensure that assessment providers' plans were realistic; test its operating assumptions across the whole claim process to identify and prevent future bottlenecks; identify any outstanding commercial risks in its relationship with contracted assessment providers that might affect operational recovery; and revise their estimates of expected benefit savings and longer-term risks to the programme.
Source: Personal Independence Payment: Early progress, HC 1070 (Session 201314), National Audit Office, TSO
An article examined the relationship between personalization reforms of social care services in England and the redevelopment of day centres for older people and people with a disability. It discussed the nature of the narrative of personalization and its relationship with the closure of day care centres and creation of alternative community spaces.
Source: Catherine Needham, 'Personalization: from day centres to community hubs?', Critical Social Policy, Volume 34 Issue 1
An article examined the impact of personalization on people with learning disabilities, and the supporting role of social workers. A scoping review found that recent literature emphasized the need for choice, control, and autonomy in personalization, but more research needed to be carried out into how professional roles fitted into and could support this process.
Source: David Sims and Sandra Gulyurtlu, 'A scoping review of personalisation in the UK: approaches to social work and people with learning disabilities', Health and Social Care in the Community, Volume 22 Issue 1