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Introduction to Social Care: What is Social Care?


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Develop an understanding of social care and the role it plays in supporting the independence and wellbeing of those needing care.

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Discover the principles of social care and the challenges it entails

What do we mean when we talk about social care?

On this four-week course from The Open University, you’ll discover what social care is, who social care services are for, who provides them, as well as the challenges to providing good quality social care services.

Delve into the purpose of social care, user needs, and services

You’ll learn about the purpose of social care, the services it provides, how eligibility is determined, and the principles of person-centred practice that shape the sector, including the legal frameworks.

You’ll explore different social care needs and situations from the perspective of people who use social care services, and the barriers some users experience due to discrimination, prejudice, or social exclusion.

Explore social care providers and the challenges they experience

You’ll explore the different kinds of social care providers, from local councils and trusts to the private and voluntary sectors, and learn how services work together. You’ll also explore how social care services are funded, examine some current challenges, and look at the response of disabled activists.

By the end of this course, you’ll have gained a sound overview of social care, including its underpinning principles, services, and providers, how service users are supported, and the influences and issues shaping the sector.

Created by experts in health and social care at The Open University

You’ll learn from experts at The Open University, who have delivered learning for the health and social care sector, working with employers, including the NHS, social services, and the voluntary sector for over 30 years.

What topics will you cover?

  • The purposes of social care and the services provided
  • The underpinning principles of person-centred social care
  • How the specific needs of the diverse range of social care service users are met by social care
  • The diverse range of service providers
  • The current challenges in providing good quality, person-centred care

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning about social care. You don’t need any prior knowledge of social care to join. It would benefit:

  • Anyone new to social care or those with a basic understanding who want to learn more
  • Those considering working in social care who want to know more
  • Social care service users, informal unpaid carers, or those who want to find out how to support others in our care system
Introduction to Social Care: What is Social Care?
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