Headlines: March 8th, 2007

NEW GUIDE HELPS AGENCIES INVOLVE OLDER PEOPLE

 

A toolkit has been developed to help care, health and housing agencies ensure that older people are involved more effectively in decisions about how services are delivered. The guide has been published by the charity Counsel and Care, which aims to get the best support for older people and their families and carers. It sets out a seven-part framework that agencies can follow.

The guide, called ‘Meaningful and effective involvement of older people: a guide for care, health and housing agencies’, offers a new approach to getting people involved in shaping services. It is written by Jan Reed and Glenda Cook for the charity but has been developed in collaboration with older people as well as professionals and researchers with the aim of supporting organisations looking to involve users in debates and decisions about services.

The document offers a model it calls ‘the 7 Is Framework’, the elements being Intention, Inclusion, Information, Infrastructure, Integration, Influence and Impact. Agencies are advised to take each component and then adopt a five-step approach of identifying, negotiating, checking, updating and reviewing to ensure that each has been applied effectively.

The authors identified two key factors in writing the guide, firstly that older people are concerned with getting things done. “The mark of a good project, for them, was whether their contribution had had an impact,” they write. Secondly, older people can be involved in decision making processes in many ways.

Counsel and Care Chief Executive Stephen Burke, said the extensive consultation with older people had shown that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to involvement did not work. The framework ensured any involvement exercise would have clear intentions leading to older people making an impact on services. “As the report states, older people want their contributions to be acknowledged and recognised and they do not expect involvement to be done as a box-ticking exercise,” he added.

With older people making up the biggest group of voters, Mr. Burke said, care policy would be an important part of the manifesto of every party at the next General Election. The new guide can be downloaded from Counsel and Care’s website at: www.counselandcare.org.uk/influence/publications