Understanding social care
Second edition
By Neil Thompson and Sue Thompson

Now brought thoroughly up to date, this book was acclaimed in the previous edition. "Very clearly laid out with a range of useful exercises that encourage the reader to reflect, both on their own practice and on reading… to feel enthused not only to explore specific issues such as assessment, but also to look at how they might take their thinking further… I would recommend this book to anybody involved in S/NVQ Awards in Care at Level 4… it would also be a valuable starting point to social work students at the beginning of their training." Rostrum.

Specifically designed with S/NVQ4 and foundation degrees in social care in mind, it is an excellent way of grasping the required knowledge base and developing a fuller understanding of what is involved in the complex and fascinating world of social care. It will also provide great assistance for anyone involved in S/NVQ awards at Levels 2 and 3 and other social care courses.

It covers: learning from experience; the value base of social care; working in partnership; understanding assessment; planning responses; evaluation and development.

It provides:
  • a clear summary and overview of many of the key issues that go to make up the underpinning knowledge base
  • an introductory foundation to your studies
  • a guide to further development
  • clear links to Neil Thompson's companion book People Skills (Palgrave Macmillan 2002).

  • Whatever the level of your experience, this book will help you link the elements of your knowledge into a more coherent and constructive framework of understanding.

    It will make it easier for you to provide - and demonstrate - evidence of this. Throughout, exercises are provided to help you check and deepen your understanding.

    Large format paperback. 128 pages. 978-1-905541-09-6. Published 2007. £15.95.


    Neil Thompson
    is an independent consultant and author with Avenue Consulting Ltd and part-time Professor of Social Work and Well-being at Liverpool Hope University. He has numerous books and other publications to his name, including Communication and Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), People Problems (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and Power and Empowerment (Russell House Publishing, 2006). He is series editor for the RHP Theory into Practice series of books. His website is at www.neilthompson.info.

    Sue Thompson is a Director of Avenue Consulting Ltd and an independent social worker and mentor. She has qualifications in social work, nursing and practice teaching and is the author of From Where I'm Sitting, a training manual relating to working with older people (Russell House Publishing, 2002) and Age Discrimination (Russell House Publishing, 2005) and co-author (with Neil Thompson) of Community Care (Russell House Publishing, 2005).


    Learning from Experience
    Planning your studies
    S/NVQ level 4
    Foundation degrees in social care
    Informal study

    Evidence gathering and assessment
    Learning how to learn
    Active learning
    Kolb's learning cycle
    The implications of Kolb's model
    Obstacles to learning
    Becoming a better learner

    Integrating theory and practice
    Developing reflective practice
    Reflective techniques
    Action planning
    The Value Base of Social Care
    What are values?
    Rights and responsibilities
    Equality and diversity
    Why is anti-discriminatory practice important?
    How does discrimination operate?
    Forms of discrimination

    Why is it important?
    What do we mean by confidentiality?
    When is it appropriate to override confidentiality?
    Keeping records
    Maintaining the right ethos
    Working in partnership

    Systems and structures
    Working in Partnership
    What is partnership?
    Partnership with whom?
    Why is it important?
    How do we achieve it?

    Relationships with service users
    Interpersonal skills
    Systematic practice

    Multidisciplinary collaboration
    Understanding roles
    Partnership skills

    Understanding Assessment
    Assessing needs and circumstances
    What is assessment?
    The social work process
    Systematic practice
    The skills involved
    Promoting equality
    Balancing positives and negatives
    Assessment pitfalls

    Assessing risk
    What is risk?
    Can we measure risk?
    Assessing risk
    Rights and risk
    Risk assessment pitfalls

    Planning Responses
    What is planning?
    Strategic thinking
    Anticipating the future
    Shaping the future
    Promoting partnership

    The life course
    Ages and stages
    Crisis, loss and growth

    Planning meetings
    Purpose and focus
    Using skills

    Pitfalls of planning
    I did it my way
    Vagueness and drift
    Unrealistic expectations
    Service-led planning
    Hidden agenda

    Evaluation and Development
    Evaluating practice
    Why evaluate?
    Types of evaluation
    Giving and receiving feedback

    Discrimination and oppression
    Remaining alert
    Elegant challenging

    Professional development
    Why bother?
    Keeping learning alive
    Self-management skills

    Guide to Further Learning
    Appendix: The S/NVQ4 in Care Units.

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