Social Care Context

Health and social care in the UK is potentially underprepared and underfunded to meet the future challenges of continuing austerity, a mental health epidemic and an ageing population.[1] According to The Kings Fund, currently there are around 15 million people in England living with a long-term condition including ‘diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and hypertension’. As people age they more likely to acquire a long-term condition, over half of people over 60 years will have a long-term condition compared to less than a fifth of under 40 year olds. But physical health data gives an incomplete view, with mental health conditions on the increase across the age range, from anxiety and depression in children to dementia in older adults. These challenges are set against the view that funding and care provision are struggling to meet demand, more specialist services such as mental health services are reporting a funding gap where not meeting demand is becoming a major cause for concern.

It can sound increasingly gloomy especially as Governments wrestle with the challenges of cutting services or increasing funding, however, these challenges also present opportunities.[2][3] At a policy level, a health promotion agenda, new ways of working, and the need to be smarter with technology are contextualising these opportunities.[1] However, another opportunity is to reframe care delivery through a creative context including the social prescribing of this approach.[4] This approach focuses on supporting people receiving care to engage in creative activities, which can engender resourcefulness and self-management, connectedness, and an increase in social capital and reported wellbeing. But what of those involved in care work? Can similar creative opportunities being used for care service users be reapplied for care workers? Working in residency with national care provider Community Integrated Care for FACT’s Future World of Work, this artwork seeks to examine and question the role of arts and creative approaches and roles for all those involved in care.

Dr Grahame Smith
Faculty of Education, Health and Community
Liverpool John Moores University


[1] Smith, G. (2015) The ageing society and its potential impact on health and social care provision: Editorial, Working Papers in the Health Sciences, Autumn 2015: 1-4

[2] Luchinskaya, D., Simpson, P. and Stoye, G., 2017. UK health and social care spending. Institute for Fiscal Studies, 7: 141-176

[3] Government Office for Science (2016) Future of an Ageing Population, London: Government Office for Science

[4] Redmond, M., Sumner, R.C., Crone, D.M. and Hughes, S., 2018. ‘Light in dark places’: exploring qualitative data from a longitudinal study using creative arts as a form of social prescribing. Arts & Health: 1-14.

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  1. Pingback: Social Care Improv – Hwa Young Jung

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