Lawrence, Julie Alexandra (2017) Social work and learning disabilities: an exploration of the contribution of social work within a multi-disciplinary team. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Effective delivery of health and social care requires collaboration between professions. The aim of this research study was to explore one element of that collaboration – the contribution made by social workers to multi-disciplinary professional practice in adult services in England. The study was conducted against the backcloth of the Modernisation agenda for health and social care integration. This approach was first introduced by the New Labour Government (1997-2010) and strengthened by the vision and expectations championed in the policy documents, Valuing People (2001) and Valuing People Now (2009) for adults with learning disabilities.
Hermeneutical phenomenology, drawn from Heidegger, underpinned the methodological and philosophical approach which led to an emphasis upon rich description and interpretations of individual lived-worlds. The theoretical position adopted was informed by Wenger’s work on Communities of Practice, which is grounded in the importance of social interactions inherent within multi-disciplinary practice between different professionals.
Participants included registered social workers (n=9) and allied health professionals (n=8). Data was generated over a nine month period. Semi-structured interviews were utilised with all professional participants. Data was analysed using Nvivo (10) and an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis towards the data was adopted. Individual vignettes were presented on behalf of local citizens (n=9) which represented their personal narratives about the value of social work, embedded within this multi-disciplinary context.
The key findings highlighted the unwavering commitment from social workers to advocate on behalf of vulnerable adults. This was underpinned by adherence to professional social work values which facilitated their abilities to deliver a plethora of professional services. Allied health professionals substantiated the important contributions of social workers within the multi-disciplinary team, alongside local citizens who confirmed social workers valuable roles as part of their complex networks of support. The implications from this research study suggested that inter-professional education and training could augment collaboration between professions to progress the current health and social care agenda, focused upon integration in England.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV40 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Contributors: Shardlow, SM (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2017 15:30
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2020 14:49

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