The future of adult social care in Northern Ireland: Moving towards a person-centred approach?

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Adult social care in Britain is undergoing a period of major change. This is largely based on the move towards greater person-centred care and support for older people using social care services which has changed how social care policies are developed and implemented. This thesis aims to examine how a person-centred approach could work for adult social care users in Northern Ireland. It provides an important analysis of key pieces of adult social care policy and legislation across the United Kingdom (UK) - highlighting the extent to which devolution creates potential for convergence and divergence in adult social care policy. The thesis provides a unique account from older people as it allows their voices to be heard. Data was collected from three focus groups with seventeen people aged over 60, who are not in receipt of social care services. Twelve interviews with people aged over 70 who are in receipt of social care services were also carried out. The research explored their expectations, views and experiences of adult social care in Northern Ireland. The findings highlight a strong preference among participants to receive care services at home. For those in receipt of care services, many experienced limited involvement in their care planning process. Most participants did not know how social care is funded and communicated a strong desire for social care to remain free at the point of use. The findings of the research are important for future debates and policy discussions in planning long-term social care provision in Northern Ireland.
Date of AwardOct 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnn-Marie Gray (Supervisor), Jennifer Hamilton (Supervisor) & G Robinson (Supervisor)


  • Adult social care
  • Older people
  • Personalisation
  • Care at home
  • Participation
  • Person-centre

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