Managing care environments: reflections from research and practice

Reynolds, Jill and Peace, Sheila (2007). Managing care environments: reflections from research and practice. In: Aldgate, Jane; Healy, Lynne; Malcolm, Barris; Pine, Barbara; Rose, Wendy and Seden, Janet eds. Enhancing social work management: theory and best practice from the UK and USA. London: Jessica Kingsley, pp. 179–198.


This chapter considers the role of senior staff in managing the use of space and the physical environment within care settings. These day and residential settings come under the broad umbrella of social work and social care but the care may also be organized from within health. This is a subject that does not appear on the curriculum of many management courses in the UK, but arguably it is critical in relation to social work and social care where managers are involved with residential homes, day centres and other provision where the physical environment can enhance or be detrimental towards service users' wellbeing. In such settings many activities go on under one roof, particularly in group care or when the care is provided in a person's own home. The care environment is complex and can be bounded within space, place, time and behaviour. Activities and time available compete or have different meanings for the participants. Managers have different kinds of relationships with workers and with service users. The environment in which care takes place often frames these.

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