The Balancing Act: Clients with complex need on how they handle specialized personal social services in Sweden
2016 (English)In: SWSD 2016: Program book, Seoul, 2016Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Background: Dealing with specialized social service organizations can be a challenge for clients with complex needs. The organizations may appear confusing and hard to navigate, and there is also a risk of service fragmentation, as such clients often participate simultaneously in an array of interventions. An additional complication to be handled is that these parallel interventions often range from voluntary to more or less involuntary. The presentation provides lessons for social work and social development practice, and will be centered on how clients with complex needs handle service conditions within the specialized personal social services (PSS) in Sweden. Swedish PSS use a distinctly problem-based specialization model where the organization is divided into units working with different social problems, such as substance abuse, monetary benefits or childcare. These structural arrangements are often complemented by function-based specialization, where work with assessments and interventions takes place in separate units
Methods: The presentation draws on findings from a qualitative interview study with PSS clients in Sweden.
Results: A conceptual model of four ideal typical client approaches to the specialized PSS (consensus, resignation, fight and escape) is presented. One key finding is, however, that the clients in the study combined these approaches in a balancing act intended to promote their own best interests in their parallel contacts with different parts of the specialized PSS organization.
Implications for Social Work and Social Development practice: The presentation concludes that future improvements in social services would probably benefit from paying more attention to the structural arrangements that surround encounters between clients and the social services, as well as clients’ valuable first-hand knowledge of social service organizations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Personal Social Services, Organizational Specialization, Complex needs, Client perspective
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-123517OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-123517DiVA: diva2:946254
Joint world conference on social work, education and social development 2016, June 27-30, COEX, Seoul, Korea