SWOP: Impact starts now

“No research without action, no action without research.” (Kurt Lewin)

The Social Work with Older People research project (SWOP) will run for two years. At the end of this we aim to provide insight and learning that impacts on: how social workers and older people work together; how employers support excellent social work, and; how policy makers and educators develop social work to improve older people’s lives.

We are ambitious for what this research project can bring to discussions about enabling everyone to thrive in later life and so we should be, for two reasons:

  1. Research takes time and resource, lots of people will be helping us and we need to make the most we can of their commitment
  2. At the moment, older people who may need care and support are not getting what they need  (Age UK estimated 1.5 million older people had some unmet need for social care in 2019)

So, we want action from our research. And this relies on people hearing about it, engaging with it and using it.

We are starting now – right at the beginning.

  • We have set up an Expert Advisory Group to guide the research project. The group has members with lived and practice experience of social work, from Bristol and Birmingham University experts by experience and BASW Adults Practice group. The group has already advised on researcher recruitment and ethical information, helping the research team to home in on what really matters to older people and social work practice.
  • We are setting up the National Stakeholders Group. This group will bring together older people’s and carers’ organisations, social work organisations, employers and policy leads. The group will raise awareness and help us find ways to make the most of the research findings.
  • We also link into the G(erontological) 8, a group of social work academics. They will help us to connect with other research and increase national understanding of older people’s social work.

And, we need you! Please get involved and join us in our research journey.

  • Follow us on twitter @SWOPResearch
  • Sign up on our website homepage to get updates when we publish future blogs
  • Tell everyone about the project and help us to add to the conversation about the difference social workers’ make to older people’s lives.

We will be advertising for a Research Fellow to support the project so look out for the advert – we are looking for someone passionate about later life, knowledgeable about social work, and skilled in research.

Images by Photographer Peter Kindersley

SWOP: Exploring social work with older people

The largest group of people who need social care are older people and their carers. Social care is essential to ensure that people can continue to thrive, avoid harm, and receive support when this is needed. Social workers have a central role in the implementation of law and policy and the practice of social care. However, there is limited research and understanding about how social workers work with older people.

This research will examine what difference social workers make to older people and carers’ lives and how they do this. It will capture the knowledge, tasks, skills, values and contribution of this important area of social care.

We will explore the social work experience over time for a small number of older people. We will read their records, observe their interactions with social workers and talk to them about what they have found helpful and not helpful. We will interview other key people involved in their care, including their carers and families, managers and other health and social care professionals. This will help us to understand how social work practice is experienced by others who provide support to older people and how social work contributes to their work.   

We want to celebrate and publicise the good things, while also identifying some of the challenges that get in the way of best practice.  This will enable stakeholders – older people and carers, practitioners, employers, national and local government, and the wider public – to better understand, support and provide social work when and where it is needed.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started