LOASCA: Lgbtq+ Older Adult Social Care Assessment study

LOASCA: Lgbtq+ Older Adult Social Care Assessment study addresses significant knowledge gaps about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ+) older (60+) people’s adult social care service experiences in England.

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NIHR - School for Social Care Research
The study will examine how social care workers in England (workers and professionals employed by local authorities in social care departments) engage with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) during assessments and will also gather the social care experiences of older LGBTQ+ adults, particularly how they perceive their SOGI has been considered within these assessments.
This cross-sectional mixed-methods study employs a multiple site case study approach to improve understanding of: A) how social care workers engage with issues of SOGI when assessing older LGBTQ+ people with care and support needs and; B) how these service users experience and receive assessments. The study will provide detailed knowledge of how social care workers employed by local authorities consider issues of SOGI when performing assessments and reviews with older people and what it is like to experience assessments from the perspective of older LGBTQ+ adults. Our approach is collaborative and co-produced. In addition to working with three local authorities, the team includes people with lived experience of care services. The study is also informed by an advisory group which includes older LGBTQ+ people who use social care services, service providers, and representatives from professional regulators and support organisations including Safe Ageing No Discrimination, Birmingham LGBT, Opening Doors London and Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Research Objectives

The study will examine how older LGBTQ+ people’s SOGI are addressed by social care workers during assessments of care and support needs and the planning of support provision. To do this, we will complete the following objectives:
  1. Survey social care workers’ attitudes and beliefs about SOGI, as well as their experiences and perceptions of these in relation to older people’s assessments. Responses will be sought from practitioners who undertake social care assessments with older people including social workers, health professionals and social care assistants.
  2. Examine key training materials, equalities guidance, and anonymised service data to determine how SOGI is represented and social care workers’ engagement with these identities is supported.
  3. Review case files at our study sites to identify how and when issues relating to SOGI are raised and discussed in assessments. Several types of assessments will be reviewed, including initial contact, Care Act assessments, and discussions about change in care.
  4. Interview social care workers from a range of professional backgrounds and diverse characteristics to explore how practitioners engage with SOGI during assessments. To ensure data from these interviews examines perceptions and attitudes that may not be verbalised, interviews will employ short written vignettes.
  5. Undertake focus groups of older LGBTQ+ people to examine service users’ experiences of social care assessments, and to identify how their SOGI can be sensitively identified and helpfully supported by social care organisations.
  6. Triangulate the findings across the range of data types to provide a rich account of the assessment journey and answer the research questions.
  7. Develop good practice guidance and practice-focused resources for social care practitioners working with older LGBTQ+ people in collaboration with key practice bodies.

Outputs and impact

Dissemination activities of this project will include journal articles, presentations at social work conferences and practitioner events, practitioner-focussed publications, a short digital film, a community-based graphic report, and a final knowledge exchange webinar bringing together practitioners, policy makers and researchers. This will be designed to improve adult social care services, benefit the social care workforce, and involve people with personal experience of care and practitioners in social care research. Outputs will be made available on this site as they are released. 

Research team

  • Dr Jason Schaub (University of Birmingham) -– Principal Investigator
  • Dr Paul Willis (University of Bristol) - Co-Investigator 
  • Stephen Airey (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator 
  • Cecilia Dubois (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Dorothy Gould (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Tracie Hammond (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Julian Hargreaves (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Dr Stephen Hicks (University of Manchester) - Co-Investigator 
  • Sallie Johnson (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Prof Ben Thomas (Opening Doors London) - Co-Investigator 
  • Dr Dora Jandrić  (University of Birmingham) - Research Fellow
  • Izzy Pullen (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
  • Martin Wells (University of Birmingham) - Co-Investigator
Information sheets
This website relates to independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research. The views expressed here are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of the NIHR SSCR, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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