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Documentation practices in need assessment: an analysis of descriptions of older people in social work case files
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9293-4932
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation departs from the ongoing debate on the role that documentation plays in the clientization of people within social work. It is based on a study of documentation within the context of need assessment practice in Swedish elderly care. The aim is to shed light on how older people’s needs are described in the case files that are used in this practice. The data is comprised of case files (N=202), containing investigations (N=488). Half of the case files concern older people with a Swedish background and half older people with an foreign-background. The results show that, on the whole, the documentation adheres to a standardized template including set headings under which older people and their needs are described in a similar manner. However, in the parts of the assessment that deal with social relations and health status, there are clear differences between how Swedish-born and foreign-born older people are described in terms of level of detail and what information is presented. Regarding the parts where judgments and decisions are made, there are differences in terms of how decisions are justified and presented: foreign-born older people’s assistance needs are more often connected to the additional workload that their relatives perform. The results partially support the critical debate about how clients are constructed in social work documentation. The study also adds new knowledge to this discussion by showing that there is an active categorization process in need assessment documentation in which older people in investigations are described in different ways. As such, the presentation will contribute to the debate on the challenges that documentation practices pose for social work and raises questions about how gender and background influence case documentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117407OAI: diva2:807852
ECSWR European Conference for Social Work Research
FAS Dnr: 2010-0666
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Dnr: 2010-0666
Available from: 2015-04-24 Created: 2015-04-24 Last updated: 2015-05-03

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Olaison, AnnaForssell, Emilia
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Social WorkFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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