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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2004): Social Care - Overseas

BETWEEN ENDLESS NEEDS AND LIMITED RESOURCES: THE GENDERED CONSTRUCTION OF A GREEDY ORGANISATION

B. Rasmussen

Gender, Work and Organisation, vol.11, 2004, p.506-525

The article presents a case study of a unit providing home care for the elderly in Norway. Decentralisation led to home helps being given more responsibility and more interesting work, as they undertook simple nursing tasks instead of cleaning. However, although the care workers were satisfied with the change, they had to work much harder and routinely did more than they were supposed to meet clients' needs. Their over-heavy workload was explained away by their managers as a result of "mothering" their clients and their inability to set limits.

CARING FOR NOTHING: WORK ORGANIZATION AND UNWAGED LABOUR IN SOCIAL SERVICES.

D. Baines

Work, Employment and Society, vol.18, 2004, p.267-295

Looks at the impact of the implementation of New Public Management (NPM) on public and non-profit social services in three Provinces in Canada. Argues that the NPM-compatible labour process within this sector strips out the caring content of the work, replacing it with flexible, routinised, and standardised models of work organisation. Caring continues to be a crucial component of work within the sector, however, as Canadian social services organisations have increasingly relied on the altruism of their staff through explicit expectations that workers perform unpaid, volunteer work within their own or other social service organisations to fill the "caring gap" created by standardised and thinly staffed paid caring service work.

DEFINING THE ROLE OF THE HOSPITAL SOCIAL WORKER IN AUSTRALIA

C. Davis and others

International Social Work, vol.47, 2004, p.346-358

The role of the medical social worker can be unclear and is often misunderstood by other medical professionals. As social workers generally employ a psychosocial model of working they often work with various people on numerous issues relating to a given client. Simply asking a social worker to define their role may fall short of truly assessing it in a hospital setting and thus the article seeks to understand the role through a twofold procedure. In the first half of the study, 22 social workers provided statistics as to how they had used their time each day for one week. Three patients were then selected randomly from each social worker and followed for three months to make up the second half of the study. The results provided a valuable insight into the role of a hospital social worker. Although social workers spent time on departmental activities, on average more time was spent on patient activities. They also provided a wide range of services to patients and their families, including assessment, counselling, advocacy, liaison and so on. The article concludes that hospital social workers need to ensure that patients and health care professionals clearly understand their role so that they are able to use their services and skills more effectively.

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