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Support programmes co-designed by social care service users

Praxis Care has been working with service users to create individually tailored support programmes.

Praxis Care’s research department, which works closely with external organisations including Queen’s University Belfast, Mencap and the Mental Health Foundation to conduct funded ongoing research into best social care practice, says the projects owe their success to the close involvement of those service users.

Paul Webb Praxis Care head of research said: ‘This research informs the evidence-based approach adopted by Praxis Care when its staff work with people who use services to design individually tailored support programmes for each person.

‘We have undertaken research on empowering people through physical activity, supported decision making and safeguarding and have ambitious plans for the future.

‘These projects have been successful because of the involvement of people who use services. By employing a panel of people who use services who work with us as researchers, we have been able to tap into their lived experience to refine our research questions, to develop better data collection tools and to deliver presentations that are hugely impactful.

‘Our service user-researchers, or co-researchers as we call them, have enabled us to conduct research which is consistent with our goal of developing services which are bespoke and shaped around the individual.’

In the last four years, Praxis Care co-researchers have developed skills and self-confidence and have been given the opportunity to return to a supportive form of employment which has enabled them to ‘move on’ to do whatever fits in with their own personal aspirations.

Two co-researchers have consequently gone on to take up HSCB-funded places on an MSc in Development and Co-Production of Social Care Research at Ulster University whilst a third became a professional social researcher.

Paul Webb said: ‘We are continuing to develop the support which we provide to people who use services by working with colleagues from Queen’s, Ulster University, HSCB and current co-researchers to develop an accredited training programme in basic research methods.

‘Our Research Department remains committed to working with our panel of co-researchers and with other colleagues to develop practices which enhance our work and which have transformative effects on the lives of the people we serve.

‘As one of our co-researchers said after working with us, ‘I have grown in confidence, self-worth, self-respect and feelings of achievement. I am a valued member of my society, not a person of a sub-culture, labelled mentally ill’.’

Praxis Care has also worked with Open Learning at Queen’s, the Mental Health Foundation, the Health and Social Care Board and Ulster University to co-produce an introductory course for anyone who has experience of using health and social care services who wants to get involved in research.

Click here for further information about Praxis Care’s research programme.

Photo Credit – Praxis Care

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