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Training as a vehicle to empower carers in the community: more than a question of information sharing

Much confusion still surrounds the concept of empowerment and how it is to be translated into practice within the context of community care for service users and carers. A major limitation has been the tendency to treat empowerment as synonymous with participation in decision-making with little attention given to the ‘ecological’ model of empowerment where linkages have been found between community participation and measures of psychological empowerment. Training has been suggested as a means through which carers might become empowered, yet to date little empirical evidence has appeared within the literature to support this proposition. This study investigated whether attendance on a training programme to empower carers resulted in improvements in carers’ levels of perceived control, self-efficacy and self-esteem as partial measures of psychological empowerment. The findings demonstrated that whereas carers’ knowledge of services and participation increased as a result of the programme, no changes were found in measures of carer empowerment. The failure to consider how training needs to be designed in order to achieve changes in individual competence and self-agency are suggested as the most likely explanation for the lack of change observed in carers’ psychological empowerment. It is suggested that community care agencies should focus greater energies in determining how the policy objectives of empowerment are to be achieved through training, and in so doing make far more explicit the supposed linkages between training content, design, and its posited impact on individual behaviour or self-agency.

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Additional Titles
Health Soc Care Community

Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
ISBN/ISSN
0966-0410
Resource Database
Hmic
Publication Year
2001
Issue Number
2
Volume Number
9
Start Page
79-88
Language
English