We want to find out more about what social workers who work with older people do.  

About the research

The Social Work with Older People (SWOP) research project is led by the University of Birmingham and the University of Bristol. It starts in November 2021 and runs for two years. It will observe social work in two parts of England. The study is funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research.

The largest group of people that social workers work with are older people and their carers. We will ‘shadow’ a small number of social workers in these teams as they go about their jobs. We will watch what they do, talk to them about their work and speak to people they are working with. This will include older people and carers, other professionals who may be involved in the work and their managers. We will also look at some of the notes and reports that they write and ask them to record their thoughts and feelings about their work.

The key question we want to answer is. ‘What difference can a social worker make to an older person’s life?’

The research will make recommendations about how social workers can best support older people and carers, including how they work with other agencies. We will identify how the government and employers can best invest in, support and recognise social work knowledge and skills. 

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