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Health and Social Care Cluster

Health and Social Care Cluster

The Health and Social Care Cluster investigates a diverse array of issues drawing on expertise from law, criminology, sociology and social work. The cluster is co-ordinated by Dr Jane Marriott and Mr Karl Mason.

Research in the cluster focuses on four general themes:

  • the institutional context of health & social care—looking at areas such as discretion, professionals, regulation and compliance;
  • care—particularly around chronic conditions and informal care within families, care in atypical communities such as prisons, and the role of self-care and self-management;
  • the interest in health & social care and marginalised communities, particularly in relation to ethnicity, mental health (including people with dementia), sexuality, self-neglect, homelessness, prisons etc;
  • forms of knowledge and ethics—for instance, the relationship between technology, practice and judgements, and critiques from the basis of creativity in human services; the use of IT to categorise complaints and practices, etc.

The Cluster provides a forum for members for exchange ideas, share information and support one another's research through collaboration and peer review.

Professor Tony Evans and Karl Mason have recently co-written and published a paper in the British Journal of Social Work. Social Work, Inter-Disciplinary Cooperation and Self-Neglect : Exploring Logics of Appropriateness examines how social workers engage cooperatively with other disciplines in practice. The results highlight the complex dynamics of cooperation, and suggest that these dynamics need to be understood in assessing the implementation of integrated policies for social care in this area.

Robert Jago, Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE, Professor Kostas StathisDr Juan Caceres SilvaDr Michelle Webster and Professor David Denney​ are conducting an investigation into the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to support regulatory decision making in complaints about nurses in the US, UK and Australia. This project is funded by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and, if successful, the AI tool under development could improve the quality and consistency of decision-making in nurse regulation nationally and internationally.

Recent research, led by Prof Frank Keating, found that socially oriented recovery from mental ill-health was for men from African and Caribbean backgrounds bound up in intersecting questions of identity. More information about the study is available here.

Karl Mason has been working with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the charity Research in Practice (Dartington Trust) in relation to Safeguarding Adults and Discriminatory Abuse policy and practice. Having been invited to join an advisory group consisting of national safeguarding adults board managers and chairs, he has co-authored a literature review on the subject, has written a briefing for practitioners for the LGA and will be delivering a webinar for the LGA and knowledge exchange workshops for 90 practitioners for RIP in June/July 2022.

Dr Serena Wright has recently worked as a co-investigator on a project funded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness which aimed to understand how ‘healthy’ prisons can be designed and incorporate trauma-informed care and practice. Her book 'Life Imprisonment from Young Adulthood: Adaptation, Trauma and Time' has recently been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

In the Health and Social Care cluster, Professor Frank Keating innovative research on improving the quality of life for people with dementia living in care homes through reminiscence arts practice has provided evidence that a service model developed by Age Exchange, a charity in South London, is effective in improving quality of life for people with dementia. This research has supported the further development of the service and its expansion nationally and internationally. Frank Keating's research on Black men and mental health has also had a significant impact on services such as the Centre for Excellence in Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health with Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network and the St George's Mental Health Trust.

Karl Mason's research on homelessness and approaches to co-production built on engagement with local government and voluntary organisations and included delivering workshops for practitioners looking at the experience of people who are homeless and socially excluded.

The cluster has also run practitioner-focused research dissemination events in central London for the West London Teaching Partnership — a consortium of 8 West London local authorities and two universities. Professor Tony Evans runs a practitioner-research group focusing on issues in adult social work. Stefan Brown and Karl Mason are also working with the Partnership on knowledge exchange, currently focusing on developing e-resources that can be used in classrooms and in practice settings for social work students and practitioners.

Finally, Robert Jago has recently been appointed as associate editor of Nursing Ethics, the leading journal in nursing ethics.

The Cluster’s last annual conference focused on ‘Understanding and Responding to Dementia’. Professor Frank Keating looked at: ‘Dementia care: an evaluation of arts and reminiscence practice for people with dementia’. Dr Jane Marriott, Dr Michelle Webster, and Dr Serena Wright considered ‘The challenge of caring for individuals with dementia in prison: a socio-legal approach.’ And Stefan Brown explored  ‘Decision making and young onset dementia: the role of the family’.

In February 2021, Professor Tony Evans has been the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Finnish National Social Work Association in Turku, Finland.

On 10 September 2020, Dr Michelle Webster, as a member of the British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Group Committee, has been involved in organising the group’s annual [online] conference.

Dr Michelle Webster also presented her research on families' experiences of using the ketogenic diet to treat childhood epilepsy at the 2019 Food for Thought Pint of Science event in Cambridge. Pint of Science is an global festival held annually where researchers share their research findings with the public in pubs and cafes.

In May 2020, Professor Tony Evans gave a [virtual] presentation at the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, University of Bergen. A summary of his presentation, titled ‘3 Forms of Discretion in Welfare Services’, is available here.

In November 2019, a second social care research seminar focused on ‘Working with Self-Neglect’ and presented cutting-edge research in cluster-included presentations by Stefan Brown, Karl Mason, Professor Tony Evans and doctoral student Maria Brent.

In October 2019, Professor Tony Evans presented a keynote lecture on ‘Discretion and the Ethics of Obedience and Resistance’ at an international Conference on the subject of ‘The Quest for Controlled Freedom’, which was held in the Dutch Senate. The report of the conference is available here.

In September 2019, Karl Mason organised the first of a series of seminars to showcase research in the cluster focusing on Adult Social Care. The first seminar, organised with the West London Teaching Partnership, focused on Strengths-based practice in adult social care and included presentations by Karl Mason, Tony Evans and Alisoun Milne (University of Kent).

Abdullah Al-Anezi:

Stefan Brown:

Anna Pathé-Smith: Pregnancy, positivity and the law: How are pregnant women conceptualised in law and society?

Karl Mason: How does homelessness impact on the experience of having care needs: what do adults with experience of homelessness and care needs say about these experiences?

Taryn-Leigh Padmore: Security and trust in the use of Health apps for asthma

Ubaid Rehman: Socioeconomic and culture factors in suicide of Pakistani diaspora in England

Natalia Sali: The impact of migration on migrants’ mental health and emotional wellbeing: A Case study of 25 Filipino migrants in the UK

Lucy Skingle: An exploration of experience and understanding

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