Books reviewed by James Woodward

Poor service?

Understanding Care Homes, Katherine Froggatt, Sue Davies and Julienne MeyerUnderstanding Care Homes, Katherine Froggatt, Sue Davies and Julienne Meyer, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008, 264pp, pbk, £19.99

There is little doubt that care in traditional residential settings for older people, is undergoing a serious crisis. There are many who believe that care homes offer a poor service to their clients and that older people better flourish in different surroundings. Some of this negativity and indeed prejudice is shaped by a lack of preparedness to fund old age care in the social care system.

In this world of claim and counter-claim it is important that we have a research-base from which we might understand care homes and learn about the experience of older people and their families in wanting to maintain a high quality of life. This book does just that. It divides itself into three sections with each investigation how research and development can be undertaken to provide better care for the individual resident and their family, to enhance care at the organisational level and to develop the care home’s relationships with the wider community. Froggatt, Davies and Meyer have edited these twelve chapters with skill and care. It is a richly diverse agenda which needs much further work if we are to rescue residential care from its pit of negative prejudice.

The authors model themselves as reflective practitioners and their experience of practice is reflected in the groundedness of all of these chapters in the everyday work of the care home.

An excellent and stimulating collection of papers which will be invaluable as part of a debate about the future of care homes which is so very much needed in the U.K. and beyond today.

James Woodward