Without a proper understanding of how a social problem arises, it can be difficult to come up with the right solution to address it. Backed with data, research provides this link to social services. This Award honours research that has contributed to the development of evidence-based person-centred services.
Winner of the 2023 Research and Evaluation Award
Through the eyes of the child
Organisation: The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) & Trinity College Dublin
Internationally, relatively few examples of research exist that represent the authentic voice of the child in the child protection system. This research carried out by the School of Social Work & Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin on behalf of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in Ireland aimed to address this gap by conducting an informed consultation process with 20 children aged 10-17 years. The study focused on gaining an understanding of children’s experiences but also went beyond that to understand, from the child’s perspective, what contributed to these experiences and employed qualitative methods, involving semi-structured individual interviews. The findings of the research led to the introduction of staff trainings and a commitment that key recommendations agreed with the children and their families would be used to inform future policy and research work.
Within disadvantaged communities, there exists a pressing need to ensure that individuals and groups in disadvantaged positions can access social services which are essential to ensure they have a dignified life. Hence, the Community Resource Assessment Tool for Social Service Provision is tailored to help cities and municipalities in assessing the potential demand for essential social services, simplifying social services planning in local communities, and enhancing the quality of services. Additionally, this tool empowers social services providers to carry out self-assessments, ensuring adherence to quality standards, and enables the creation of action plans for service enhancement.
By collaboratively creating dementia-friendly public spaces in partnership with older people, the City of Helsingborg aims to establish not only welcoming and safe environments for them, but also places that are intuitively navigable and rich in sensory experiences. Most importantly, through this initiative, the City enables the individual to independently access and take part in outdoor environments, securing health benefits, and to continue to engage with their communities.
Effectiveness Study on Empowerment-based Services in Domestic Violence
Organisation: Home for children and adult victims of domestic violence “Duga-Zagreb”
This study addresses a crucial social challenge by evaluating the effectiveness of psychosocial services provided in one of the most equipped shelters in Croatia for women who are victims of domestic violence, with a specific emphasis on the empowerment theory perspective. This shelter stands out in the country as it offers 24/7 security service. The approach taken within the shelter primarily focuses on individualised professional support for victims, centred on gathering insights directly from the victims themselves, aiming to understand their perceptions of the advantages of shelter life, their needs regarding psychosocial services and legal guidance, and their sense of security within the shelter. The victims’ feedback underscored their paramount needs for safety and protection, followed closely by comfort and privacy, all within a framework of appropriate control designed to ensure their well-being and security.
The evaluation of the Home Care Service (HCS) in Catalonia was carried out to analyse strategic policy and gather evidence to improve and adapt it in the face of increasingly diverse and expanding care needs. The HCS supports individuals in situations of dependency or social risk and aims to enhance integration and autonomy within their family and community environment. The research used qualitative and quantitative methodologies to comprehensively evaluate the reality of the service. The findings highlighted that HCS lacks clear objectives and that there are coverage and intensity differences across the region. The main recommendations were to establish objectives that have a person-centred focus, reverse inequalities, incorporate a gender and intersectional perspective, and improve the quality of data systems to develop rigorous analyses and assessments.
The GIZAREA project promotes Relationship Centred Care (RCC), defined as care in which all participants appreciate the importance of their relationships with others. Through the project, care centres introduce jointly planned meetings between professional teams, the residents, and their families, to plan activities and interventions with the residents, taking their wishes into account. No person within the relationship has a superior perspective. The results of the pilot project evaluation, which took place in a centre for people with dementia, found that after 6 months implementation there were many positive effects: the families were more satisfied with the level of care; the professionals saw an improvement in well-being; the residents showed less behavioural symptoms and had decreased treatment needs involving the use of psychoactive drugs.
The goal of the InCARE pilot research project in Gipuzkoa, Spain is to evaluate the impact of integrated long-term care policies and services development for family caregivers of people with dementia. The pilot project offers information, identifies, and coordinates local community support services, aids referrals, and accompanies social services case management. InCARE gathers quantitative and qualitative impact data to assess the impact of the pilot project on the quality of life of supported persons and how their family care givers can be better supported based on their needs. Based on this research, and that of other pilots, InCARE will provide a proposal roadmap to person-centred long-term care system development, promote multi-stakeholder national and international partnerships, and support participatory, innovative and integrated approaches to long-term care policy processes and reforms.
Sharing the Voices of Those who are Institutionalised to Change Practice and Policy
Organisation: The University of Birmingham & Changing our Lives
Country: United Kingdom
Through person-centred care, people with a learning disability and/or autism can live within community settings. However, services are often insufficient to support people in a time of crisis which can result in admission to a hospital setting. Whilst planned to be short-term stays, such admissions often become long-term in nature which affects the wellbeing of the people and their families, and can make it harder for alternative community options to be identified. The research demonstrated person-centred principles throughout its co-produced design and delivery; every person was approached in an individualised manner, adapted to their preferred style of communication. The findings have influenced practice through policy guidance to all health and social care leaders, the production of engaging and accessible materials, and an innovative collaboration with an artist.