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Choice, control and person-centredness in day centres for older people

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1338
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number6
Early online date30 Aug 2020
Accepted/In press3 Aug 2020
E-pub ahead of print30 Aug 2020
Published1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors extend thanks to study participants (and non-participants with whom the first author spent time at the centres), day centre provider organisations for agreeing to be involved, initial local authority contacts, and members of the Study Advisory Group and the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce?s Service User and Carer Advisory Group for their contributions, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


King's Authors


Background: Day centres are a substantial element of community-based support for older people in many countries. However, assumptions that they are an outdated or costly service model have resulted in many centre closures in England. The perspectives of 42 people attending, providing, making referrals to or purchasing places at four diverse day centres for older people were collected in interviews. Using these data, we explore day centres’ relevance to social workers’ efforts to promote person-centred support for older people enabling them to maintain or improve their well-being. These are explored from the perspectives of choice, control and person-centredness and local authority responsibilities for shaping the care market under the Care Act 2014. Findings: Attenders highly valued centres’ congregate nature and the continuity they offered which contributed to the development of person-centred relationships. Attenders exercised choice in attending day centres. Social work staff were more positive about day centres’ relevance to personalisation than those responsible for making decisions about the shape of local care services. Applications: With social isolation recognised as a serious risk of old age, the value of togetherness in group environments may need highlighting. Enactment of personalisation policies need not necessarily lead to individualisation; day centres may be community-based assets for some. Those shaping the care market may be encouraged to acknowledge wider outcomes, and frontline social workers may benefit from hearing positive experiences that may help in the development of effective care plans for older people who would like to benefit from day centre participation.

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