Everyday ethnography interpreting and ‘doing’ empowerment and protection care imperatives in a supported-living environment for intellectually disabled adults. Findings from experiences as a support worker

Carys Banks

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Abstract

This paper details findings from my own experiences as a support worker working in a UK-based supported-living home (previously residential care) for adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities. These findings, along with other previous research, which investigated access to health and social care for this population (Redley, Banks, Foody and Holland 2012), have formed the basis of my doctoral research—an ethnographic study of this environment—which, since submitting this paper, has now commenced. Importantly, the experiences to which I refer are drawn my own perceptions of the nature of the supportedliving setting in which I worked. Although, it is not possible to remove my perceptions as a researcher from my experiences as a support worker, what is relayed in this paper is not formally connected with my previous work as a researcher.

In recent years, social care services have begun to alter the way that full-time support is provided to recipients of services. These changes are set within a larger context of reform that is premised upon empowerment, through independence and choice. Such principles require individual self-determination, and the introduction of this ethos in the lives of adults who are limited in intellectual functioning has been questioned. In undertaking employment as a support worker within an organisation providing support to adults with intellectual disability, my intention was to begin to gain direct insight into how, or whether, changes in the nature of services and models of care that are provided in an everyday supported-living home for people with intellectual disabilities are impacting upon daily care practices and relations between service providers and service recipients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-88
JournalSuomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society
Volume37
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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