A jumble of words about social care

Rewriting social care

Bryony Shannon's influential blog challenges the often impersonal and de-humanising professional language that has grown up around social care

In Rewriting Social Care, Bryony Shannon deconstructs and challenges professional language and jargon common in the field of social care.  Her influential series ‘words that make me go “hmmmm”‘ has given many practitioners cause to reflect on the power of language to shape and confirm unequal power relations, to dehumanise and to conceal rights abuses.

She writes:

‘The language of social care creates barriers, and there are enough of those already in the statutory social care world. The terms we use perpetuate the power dynamic between the ‘professional’ and the ‘vulnerable person’, the assessor and the assessed, ‘us and them’.

In our jargon-filled world, people are ‘reabled’ and ‘optimised’. They have ‘episodes’ and ‘outcomes’. We assess whether they can ‘mobilise’, manage ‘activities of daily living’ or ‘access the community’. We purchase ‘packages’ of care.

Our language is just as confusing for those of us who work ‘inside’ the system, as each team or service or organisation develops their own jargon and acronyms. We talk of CCGs, CHC, COPD, the CQC, D2A, DOLS, LD, MCA, MSP and NRPF. We attend DST, MDT, MARAC, MAPPA and VARM meetings. We work in E&A, OOH, SCAS, STIT. We work as or with ASYEs, OTs, ICSOs, IMCAs and PSWs.’


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