1st Edition

Realising Participation Elderly People as Active Users of Health and Social Care

By Kathryn Roberts, Tom Chapman Copyright 2001

    This title was first published in 2001: During the last twenty years government rhetoric in the UK has increasingly advocated that statutory health and social care services should regard and treat recipients as 'consumers' in the same way as companies and organizations in the private sector. This involves a considerable cultural change on the part of both service providers and their clients, and this timely study explores the extent to which such a cultural change is actually taking place in British society. The utilization of welfare services by a sample of people aged 70 and above on discharge from inpatient care and in a short period afterwards is examined as a critical testbed for key components of consumerism, including participation, representation, access, choice, information and redress. The book explores not only the extent to which opportunities are being provided for users to play an active role in their care, but also their degree of willingness to assume such a role. By investigating the experiences of clients from a generation which might be considered relatively resistant to a more active participation in health and social care, the study offers an important insight into the extent to which a real social transformation is indeed taking place in the British welfare services.

    Contents: Introduction; User participation in the welfare state; The policy context; The position of elderly people in UK society; Research design and methodology; Findings; Discussion 1: barriers and enablers in the use of health and social care; Discussion 2: social differentiation and the use of health and social care; Summary and evaluation; Bibliography.


    Tom Chapman is Director, Centre for Health Research & Evaluation, Edge Hill College of HE. He has wide teaching experience in British higher education He has extensive publications in the care of the elderly and mental health. In the last 5 years he has authored over 20 books, research reports and monographs in the field of health services research. A previous co-authored book for Ashgate is Growing Old and Needing Care: An audit of the health and social care needs of the elderly (1995). Kathryn Roberts is Research Fellow at Centre for Health Research & Evaluation, Edge Hill College of HE. An experienced researcher in health and social care and nursing. She has published several journal articles on care of the elderly.

    ’The increasing prominence of the older age groups in society needs to be recognised.  Roberts and Chapman focus on a critical test for the NHS - how do the elderly users of health and social care services fare? This well-written study usefully identifies how different categories of people adopt different active roles in their own care.  Interestingly, the study implicitly challenges the significance of age.’ Professor Keith Soothill, Lancaster University, UK