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Exploring satisfaction with adult social care services in Hampshire: the added complexity of ethnicity

21st October 2014 3pm, University of Southampton, 54/8031(8C)

Ros Willis, Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton

A joint CPC/CRA seminar: In England, national user experience surveys show that people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups tend to be less satisfied with social care services compared with the White population, but the nature of the survey methodology does not allow an explanation of why this difference occurred. In this study 82 in-depth interviews were conducted with adult service users and informal carers from South Asian and White British backgrounds in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton to explore their experiences and satisfaction levels. A further 39 social care practitioners were also interviewed to understand satisfaction from their perspective. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. The majority of participants reported high satisfaction levels despite some aspects of poor care. As expected, language was an important facilitator of good care for South Asian participants, but ethnic-matching with care staff was considered less important. Although all participants were using some form of social care, many were uncertain of how to access further support services. Many reported difficulties in first accessing social care, and the most common forms of help seeking for both ethnic groups were through word-of-mouth and through the General Practitioner. The overarching theme in the analysis was Understanding the System. Differences in satisfaction were related to being able to work with social services to make the most of the available support. Participants with a good understanding of the social care system were better able to achieve control over their care. Participants with a poor understanding of the social care system were uncertain about how to access further care, or why a service had been refused or withdrawn. More White British than South Asian participants had a good understanding of the social care system, likely related to greater familiarity through experience. Recommendations for social care services are to have better communication throughout the entire social care process, including outreach, to ensure service users and informal carers have accurate expectations of social care services.