Category Archives: Health and well-being

Huntington’s Disease: normalizing the extraordinary

Mara Tognetti
Mara Tognetti

by Mara Tognetti, Professor of Health Policy at Milan-Bicocca University, Italy

The research project “The community takes care of Huntington’s Disease” – piloted by the Observatory and Methods for Health at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of Milan-Bicocca University and directed by the present author – has conducted free interviews to learn about how health workers and relatives find the task of assisting people with Huntington’s Disease (HD). This is an incurable neuro-degenerative genetic complaint which sets in during the prime of the individual’s life cycle and puts paid to the social and physical existence of patient and family. It places social relations under enormous strain and completely disrupts family, working and social life.

For this reason, and because no kind of therapy yet exists to retard or halt progression, the challenge is both to search for an effective cure and to find ways, from the outset, of supporting those who shoulder the burden: the patient, the family and the health workers.

The research aimed to provide a picture of family needs and difficulties in looking after an HD sufferer. We particularly looked at how caregivers perceive their own requirement for time off for themselves, on the Continue reading Huntington’s Disease: normalizing the extraordinary

In Defence of Welfare – why the welfare state is good for us

Elke Heins
Elke Heins

Elke Heins is a Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Edinburgh.

After the success of In Defence of Welfare: The Impacts of the Spending Review published in 2011, the UK Social Policy Association (SPA) has produced a follow-up volume in the run-up to the General Election 2015 to make the case for why we need the welfare state. Around 50 UK social policy experts give their verdict on key developments in British social policy over the past five austerity-dominated years. In one of these short contributions to In Defence of Welfare 2 I argue together with Chris Deeming that welfare and well-being are inextricably linked.

Well-being is a concept that has gained significant momentum since the global economic crisis both internationally and within the UK as the measurement efforts by diverse actors, ranging from the OECD and EU to various government and non-government bodies, to replace the one-dimensional GDP with multi-dimensional well-being indicators demonstrate. Measuring individual and societal Continue reading In Defence of Welfare – why the welfare state is good for us

The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events

Jonathan Wistow, Lena Dominelli, Katie Oven, Christine Dunn, and Sarah Curtis, from Durham University, discuss their latest article from EPSRC-funded research, “The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events”. This article is now available on fast track.

Image by West Midlands Police [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Local residents and police officers in Balsall Heath clearing snow from the pathway of an older persons home (2013). Image courtesy of West Midlands Police [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Climate change and demographic projections point, respectively, to more frequent occurrences of extreme weather and an ageing population.  Taken together these provide new dynamics to which health and social care systems need to respond.  Firstly, demographic change will lead to a growth in the population group that relies most on services within health and social care systems.  Secondly, the increased frequency of extreme weather events can have serious effects on the services, buildings, communication routes and utilities that are important for health and social care of older people.

This article is an output from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded research project under the Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change programme, called Built Infrastructure for Older People in Conditions of Climate Change. The project brought together a team of researchers from different disciplines to understand how Continue reading The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events

A Failure of Multiculturalism? Providing Support for those who Become Infertile Following Cancer Treatment

Karl Atkin
Karl Atkin

Karl Atkin and Sangeeta Chattoo discuss their most recent paper in Policy & Politics, Clinical encounters and culturally competent practice

A recent Guardian Roundtable in association with the British Academy identified the increasingly ethnically diverse nature of British society, while acknowledging the contested nature of multiculturalism. Such debates are now a regular occurrence as the UK struggles to accommodate what Bhiku Parekh called back in 2000 a ‘community of communities’. The prime minster, David Cameron, no supporter of multiculturalism, has criticised the passive tolerance of different cultural values, which he sees as potentially undermining the nation’s collectively agreed sense of British-ness. Nor is this an isolated view and others go as far as to attribute the failure of multiculturalism to minority ethnic Continue reading A Failure of Multiculturalism? Providing Support for those who Become Infertile Following Cancer Treatment