1st Edition

Helping the Aged A Field Experiment in Social Work

By E. Matilda Goldberg Copyright 1970
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    In 1970 social workers were in great demand and their numbers were growing. At the same time questions were asked on both sides of the Atlantic about the methods they employed, their objectives and the effectiveness of their efforts. Previous studies undertaken in the United States to test the effectiveness of social casework had led to intense controversy between researchers and practitioners.

    Originally published in 1970, the field experiment described in this book was the first British attempt to assess the effectiveness of social work. A team led by a social worker, including a physician and a statistician, assessed the social and medical conditions of 300 aged applicants to a local authority welfare department and determined their needs for help. Half of these old people were randomly selected to receive help from trained caseworkers; the other half, also randomly chosen, remained with experienced local authority welfare officers without professional training.

    The social and medical conditions of the surviving clients were reassessed after an interval. Both sets of social workers had achieved much in alleviating practical needs. But the trained workers brought about more change in their clients’ activities, feelings and attitudes.

    The opinions of the old people about the services they received and the social workers who had carried them out added another dimension to this pioneer study which contributed to research methodology, helped to clarify operational goals in social work, made a beginning in measuring social work effort and enlarged our meagre knowledge of social work with old people at the time.

    Acknowledgements.  Foreword.  Preface.  Part I: Objectives and Methods  1. The Objectives of Social Work – Can They be Defined and Assessed?  2. The Development of Assessment Techniques and the Formulation of Hypotheses  Part II: The Baseline of the Experiment  3. Three Hundred Aged Welfare Clients, their Social and Medical Conditions and their Needs  Part III: The Social Work Experiment  4. The ‘Special’ and ‘Comparison’ Groups  5. The Social Work  6. The Effect of Social Work  7. Input and Outcome in Relation to Individual Cases  8. The Consumer’s Opinion  Part IV: Summary and Conclusions  9. Help the Aged – Conclusions and Reflections.  Appendix 1: Supplementary Tables.  Appendix 2: Methods of Analysis by Mary B. Spark.  Index.


    E. Matilda Goldberg