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Welfare reform on the Web (January 2007): Care of the elderly - UK

United we stand? Partnership working in health and social care and the role of social work in services for older people

M. Lymbery

British Journal of Social Work, vol.36, 2006, p.1119-1134

This paper has argued that social work with older people is under threat from a number of linked sources:

  1. The power of other occupations within health and social care, notably medicine, to define and control the nature of social work practice
  2. The potential for other occupations such as nursing and occupational therapy to claim as their own aspects that are legitimately part of the social work role
  3. The ability of managers to define the work of a social worker so narrowly that it could be claimed that a professional qualification is no longer required.

The paper has sought to outline the aspects of practice that distinguish social work from other occupations that operate with older people. The successful formation of a multidisciplinary team will require similar processes to be undertaken for all professional groups involved.

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