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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2009): Social care - overseas

Developments in end-of-life and palliative care social work: international issues

M. Payne

International Social Work, vol. 52, 2009, p. 513-524

This article identifies the important role which social work has gained in multidisciplinary palliative care. This role has so far been primarily clinical, but broader social work and social care services need to be engaged in the issues surrounding death and dying. The medicalisation of palliative care in Western countries focuses on a modernist approach that sees death and bereavement as generating social and emotional problems that require treatment. However, a more sociological approach sees death and bereavement as social events in families and communities that may stimulate social change and increased resilience. There is some evidence that such an approach would be appropriate in countries with non-Western cultures.

Inequalities in health and community-oriented social work: lessons from Cuba?

D. Backwith and G. Mantle

International Social Work, vol. 52, 2009, p. 499-511

The roots of inequalities in health and life expectancy lie in social conditions, suggesting an important role for social work in this area. This article suggests that a community-oriented approach to social work is required. In making a case for this, the authors review the progress of the government's drive to reduce inequalities in England, arguing that it has been largely unsuccessful because it has primarily been pursued through healthcare services, while addressing the social determinants of health has been a secondary consideration. They argue that social workers in England could learn from the example of Cuban community-oriented social work, which has helped maintain population health at a level that stands comparison with wealthier nations despite the hardships that followed the economic collapse of the 1990s.

Social work professionalization: lessons in reformation, revitalization, and reinvention

E. Blyth (guest editor)

China Journal of Social Work, vol.2, 2009, p. 83-

This special issue is based on the proceedings of a conference held in China in 2008. Papers explore the historical development of the social work profession in England, the USA and Asia from its origins in the nineteenth century to the present day. Other issues covered include the dramatic development of social work in China since its recognition by the government in 2006, explored through a case study of the city of Shenzhen, the unique characteristics of social work in Hong Kong, which derive from the way that welfare services are funded, recent developments in social work training in the USA, and current British government attempts to modernise public services, including social work.

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