Mar 28 2014

New date: Improving practice through research together – Ideas swop shop: 13 May 2014

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Looking forward to Monday’s ideas swop shop… and then unfortunately had to postpone as one of our core team is off sick!

We’ll be holding the swop shop on 13 May 2014 now. Partly as we are hosting a workshop on user-led research in the afternoon and the ideas swop shop will compliment that workshop very well.

Register now at http://sceipideasswopshop.eventbrite.co.uk.

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Feb 24 2014

POSTPONED: Improving practice through research together – Ideas swop shop: 31 March 2014

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The best way to get evidence to improve services? Get those delivering services, commissioning them, researching social care, receiving services, caring for those receiving services (etc; and anyone else interested) into a room together and ask them what their priorities are and what skills they can bring to the table to research them. OK so that’s not academically tried and tested but we would all agree everyone involved in adult social care in whatever form – managers, practitioners, frontline staff, people who use services, carers, researchers – all have important roles to play in generating the research evidence that will shape policies and practice and improve adult social care practice. And you will all have your own interests and priorities.

So that’s what we’re doing. Asking you to join us in late March, put your priorities and needs for adult social care on the table, bring your individual skills and expertise with you and share them with others. Then …

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Feb 12 2014

Do we (tele)care what the evidence says?

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In recent years there has been a growing evidence base surrounding the effectiveness, efficiency and merits of telecare. Incorporated within a large Department of Health evaluation that commenced in 2008 (the Whole Systems Demonstrator programme) the evidence for telecare is mixed. This post sets the scene around evidence for telecare and introduces an event taking place on 20 February 2014 to which you are all very welcome.

What is telecare?

The Department of Health defines telecare as ‘a combination of alarms, sensors and other equipment to help people live independently. This is done by monitoring activity changes over time and will raise a call for help in emergency situations, such as a fall, fire or a flood’ (Department of Health 2009).

Telecare is a combination of monitoring equipment and monitoring services to enable people to remain independent, usually used in the home. Equipment can be activated by the user (e.g. pendant alarm) or can monitor behaviour passively (e.g. epilepsy bed sensor or a flood detector) triggering an alert when changes are detected.

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Feb 10 2014

Reflecting on 18 months of SCEiP: barely scratched the surface?

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A dedicated pot of funding and two years to bring practitioners (broadly defined) and researchers together to exchange knowledge and to explore knowledge exchange methods seemed like an immense opportunity when we started in August 2012. The freedom to decide with them what we were going to do in the project, rather than telling them what we would do, and the possibility of increasing engagement between research and practice by the end of the project was amazing. It still is… but as we’ve been through the first 18 months of the Social Care Evidence in Practice (SCEiP) project we’re learning a lot and realising that perhaps even the funding, time and freedom we have through the SCEiP project may not be enough to do more than scratch the surface.

Hi! I’m the project manager for the SCEiP project, and have spent some time reflecting on the first year of the project before fully getting into year 2 activities. There’s a lot to reflect on and lots of recommendations and suggestions coming together… I won’t go into all of those in this post, but will do in follow-up posts. Here I just wanted to briefly reflect on where we have reached.

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Nov 12 2013

Graphic novel: The superhero of research dissemination?

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by Dr Philip Brown

When the main output from a research project is essentially a report and a few lofty journal articles what does this mean for impact? Well, as researchers, we hope it means quite a lot. We hope that key policy makers and practitioners will read our work, understand what we found and act on our recommendations and conclusions to change or improve things. This is certainly something which happens, but possibly more rarely than we care to admit to ourselves. A cynic might say that churning out final research reports merely conforms to the well rehearsed process endemic within the research profession of telling people (anyone who will listen) how clever, unique, interesting our research has been. In reality, for the most part, we often speak to the ‘usual suspects’ add to a growing body of similar research reports and ‘impact’ is incremental as opposed to dramatic (sighs).

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

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Oct 28 2013

The Social Work Journal Club on Twitter

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By @Ermintrude2

The Social Work Journal Chat has become  a space for practising social workers and social work students, service users, carers and anyone with an interest in social care, to discuss articles and policy documents relevant to social work. A journal article is chosen every fortnight and hosted on the blog and a time is agreed for participants to discuss and appraise the research and its applications to practice on twitter. The site was set up by @Ermintrude2, and here she discusses the importance of the space in improving access to research for those who have the most potential to see its recommendations realised.

Having used blogging as a medium to improve my own knowledge and awareness of policy papers and research around social care since 2007, I have long been a great proponent of the use of social media to link practitioners with research and researchers.

The idea was blatantly stolen from the Twitter Journal Club (http://www.twitjc.com/about/), which has been run for a few years, but specifically focuses on medical education papers for doctors and student doctors. I’ve often thought it would be a good idea to have a similar type space in social work, but I took a while to be convinced that a ‘twitter chat’ could embrace the range of conversations that might take place around a paper.

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Oct 25 2013

Putting our own message into practice: Lessons from previous work on knowledge exchange in social care

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Here at the Social Care Evidence in Practice (SCEiP) project we have been highlighting how social care research all too often can fail to make an impact on the real world and, at worst, can be left unloved on dusty shelves. In these cash-strapped days, it’s especially important to make the most of research that already exists as well as developing the evidence base where gaps are visible. And this is no less true in our own field of endeavour working to understand what contributes to successful knowledge exchange between researchers, practitioners and policymakers. ‘Knowledge exchange’ may be the vogue phrase of the moment, but it’s hardly a new concept. So we don’t want to find ourselves retreading old ground in the work we’re doing at SCEiP. Is there, for instance, useful past research on the knowledge exchange process that hasn’t properly seen the light of day?

We’re happy to say ‘yes’ and are now publishing two very helpful new papers produced from the project, ‘Learning from Others: Knowledge Transfer in Social Care Research’, funded by the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Higher Education Innovation Fund between May 2009 and July 2011: Evidence-informed policy making: Exploring the concept of knowledge transfer in social care; Knowledge transfer in social care and social work: Where is the problem?. In partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence, the project aimed to improve links between research bodies and social care organisations, users, practitioners, carers and policy makers. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And many of the themes identified by this earlier project resonate strongly with SCEiP’s work to date.

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Oct 11 2013

The importance of research for practice – drop into SCEiP’s evidence clinic at #ncasc13 to find out more

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Research evidence is essential in making robust defendable decisions about social care services. We understand the barriers, but we know the need for – and value of – research, especially at a time when resources are scarce and demand is increasing. Our Evidence Clinic at #NCASC13 aims to bring research evidence to those in practice. We’ll be there to hear about delegates’ research evidence needs and requirements and tell them about the support we might be able to provide. We’re also on the lookout for any innovative methods that could be used to engage with practice and research, and if we find them we might just fund them!

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Oct 11 2013

Social Care Evidence in Practice: An English perspective

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George Julianby George Julian

I’m typing this sat in the beautiful Banff Springs hotel in Canada where I’ve spent the last couple days at #KTNConf Inspiring Change. Organised and hosted by the Health Research Transfer Network of Alberta (RTNA), this conference has focused on the role of knowledge transfer in inspiring change. Rarely have I had the privilege to attend such a warm and friendly, insightful and broad ranging conference. Today alone I heard about maternal health, homelessness and mental health, built environment and early years, Well Doc? initiative on physician stress, storytelling and aboriginal trauma, enhanced surgery and recovery, parent narratives of life in a neonatal intensive care unit and mathematics teaching for children with feotal alcohol spectrum disorder. All in one day, together with great opportunities for networking and poster presentations, lightening talks and a very entertaining gameshow after dinner of Knowledge Transfer Jeopardy. It’s been a seriously great day, I’ve got that mid conference buzz, brain ache and exhaustion all rolled into one.

So what better thing to do than share my presentation slides and a little context for the points behind them. I am completely indebted to my colleagues at LSE for providing me with financial support and also encouraging me to share our learning from the SCEiP project. What follows however are my thoughts and reflections of the project so far, there is no guarantee that other members of the team or collaborators would hold the same view, but this was my thoughts on our journey and learning so far and hopes for the future. I hope you find it interesting and be sure to feedback here or via twitter @LSE_SCEIP.

Social Care Evidence in Practice: An English perspective 

The presentation is in six parts: context and introduction; what people tell us stops them from using research; what people tell us helps them to use research; methods used in year one of the project; our learning so far and future possibilities, and take away messages. 

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Jul 29 2013

Innovative use of direct payments with carers: A mini project

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The Social Care Evidence in Practice project recently put out a call to its social care practitioner network to submit proposals for a series of mini-projects with the aim of utilising current research evidence and applying it to key practice issues. Successful projects were awarded a small budget and mentor to facilitate their mini project. These projects are now underway and aim to report in September 2013. One of these projects was awarded to Rachel Dittrich, Research Manager, Strategic Policy Team for Adults, Hampshire County Council. Rachel’s project is looking at the innovative use of carers’ direct payments to reduce the risk of sudden carer breakdown, carers stress and carer incapacity, with the aim of providing practice guidance on what works.

One aspiration of the reforms of the care and support system is to allow individuals greater choice and control over their lives. In 2008 the revised Carers Strategy contained a commitment that everyone using adult social care, including carers, should be able to receive a personal budget. A direct payment is money given to disabled people and carers so they can arrange their own care package rather than have support services arrange by social work departments. This is in line with the personalisation agenda pushed forward in the care and support bill that aims to reform social care services to give people more choice and control of their lives and care. Continue reading

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