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An A to Z of Social Care (Part One A-M)

January 5, 2016

Yesterday, The Guardian put out a call for contributions for a New Health & Social Care Alphabet. Here is my humble contribution:


Accessing the Community:                                 Whereas you and I go out, learning disabled people access the community. It means the same thing. This activity usually involves window shopping in the precinct but may occasionally involve a Panda Cola from the newsagents.

Assessment & Treatment Units:                          A warehouse where learning disabled people are incarcerated, often for many years, to stop them spoiling the appearance of the community.

Apple Catchers:                                                           Very popular activity amongst NHS movers and shakers. Usually undertaken after shakers have shaken the apple cart on which the apples reside.


Best Interests:                                                                  What a group of professionals decide is the best way of living your life. Often involves removal from family home and incarceration in assessment and treatment unit (see Above)

Boat Rocker:                                                                      Currently fashionable with Radical Change Agents (See “R”). Boat can only be rocked from the inside. Woe betide anyone who tries to rock the boat from the outside.


Candour:                                                                                  Obviously different meaning from common usage. Something the Minister for health calls for, every seven months or so.

Care Quality Commission:                                                      Seen within the trade as a bunch of busybodies. Probably akin to the X Factor Panel (but for Care Homes & Hospitals)

Carer:                                                                                         Very little known of this species but said to be fond of cardigans and moaning about their lot.

Carers UK:                                                                                 The collective noun for the Carer (see above). A tribe who encourage people to knit or hold coffee mornings so their members can buy more cardigans.

Challenging Behaviour:                                                        Believed by some to be people in distress trying to be understood. In professional circles seen as justification for anti psychotic medication regime & incarceration in Assessment & Treatment Unit (see above).

Challenging Behaviour Foundation:                                  An evangelical group who gain a lot of attention by calling for things. Known to work best in pairs.

Change Champions:                                                                  Modern day cheerleaders who don’t necessarily wear blazers or carry pom poms.

#Change is Changing:                                                               A 21st Century clan who like to make up three letter phrases with the same noun and verb (see also Chiropodists are Chiropodising).

Choice;                                                                                          An opportunity to pick between one thing or nothing.

Circles of Support:                                                                     A modern trend for getting your next door neighbour to provide your care, bringing immediate efficiency savings>

Commissioners:                                                                         An anonymous group of people, who control the purse strings and have a penchant for sending people to their doom.

Continuing Care Assessments:                                            A sporting term. An arm wrestling contest between social care and health professionals over who funds a care package.


Day Centre:                                                                                       A 1970s building of no historic significance, where people congregated before they started accessing the community (see above).

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards:                                      An often played trump card when you want a person to know where the power lies.

Direct Payments:                                                                             A sum of money to purchase care (hahahaha) which will be micro managed by a professional as if their life depended on it.


Eligible Needs:                                                                                       What’s wrong with you.

Empowerment:                                                                                       An illusory gift from professional to a nonentity.

Exnovation:                                                                                              Something you do before you innovate. Very fashionable in July 2015 but had shot it’s bolt by August 2015.

Expert By Experience:                                                                          A term bestowed on a Carer (see above) to stop them whinging and for them to think they are involved in some fashion.


Fairer Access to Care Services (FACS):                                        A guilt inducing iniative to deflect attention away from something very unfair taking place.

Fairer Charging Policy:                                                                       Inspired by the FACS (see entry immediately above). Another layer of guilt whilst bleeding someone dry.

Families:                                                                                                        Editors Note: This may be a made up word. Despite our extensive research into 1000s of social care records, we can find no mention of this term.

#Fuckingpest:                                                                                              A term of endearment, used amongst the sons of Board members to family members who are a little miffed.


Gardening Leave:                                                                                        A time to reflect, offered to boat rockers who rock a little bit too hard.


Hub:                                                                                                                    A Post Office conversion property where people assemble before going window shopping or buying a Panda Cola.

Human Rights Act:                                                                                        A little known and even lesser used piece of law that doesn’t really apply to the people this dictionary covers because they’re not really human.


Inclusion:                                                                                                          Having a Panda Cola with someone who is human.

Independence:                                                                                                 Being in your pyjamas by 5pm and being on your own with an alert button between 7pm and 9am.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate:                                         An endangered species, usually employed to give someone a voice. Now rarer than Kajagoogoo hit records.

Indicative Budget:                                                                                         A sum of money that empowers the person to purchase their care from Poundland.

Innovation:                                                                                                      The mantra of all NHS Change Agents. It means to do something that has already been done before but to pretend that it hasn’t.

Integration:                                                                                                      A reminder that you will always be on the outside & meaningful life can only be bestowed on you by an insider.



Katrina Pearcey:                                                                                                To lose one’s soul through rampant narcissism. Soon to be a DSM category.


Leader Love:                                                                                                       No idea to be honest but probably the sort of thing that a Katrina Pearcey would aspire to.

Least Restrictive Option:                                                                                 A choice between prison and an assessment and treatment unit (see “A”)


Measurable Outcomes:                                                                                    Having everything you do logged and judged.

Mencap:                                                                                                               A collective who give voices to people without voices and are always in the papers, calling out for things.

Modern Way (The):                                                                                     Will probably be the old fashioned way by the time you read this.

Multi Disciplinary Meetings:                                                                           A get together of anybody who is anybody. Except you of course.


From → Social Care

  1. weary mother permalink

    ‘.boat rocker’ is (also) a person with integrity who speaks up outside boat,…and is promptly ditched.

  2. Alison permalink

    I really appreciate your posts and I regularly point people towards them. I love the way you have stuck to your convictions despite all the opposition. I also love how you expose the crap.

    We are currently looking at “strategy” for our charity, in the face of the cuts etc, personally I would rather stop our services than compromise our ideals; dilemma… I know we’re providing a truly person centred service for people with very profound disabilities, but their needs aren’t really recognised among the “commissioners” and so they aren’t prepared to pay the price. And yet, we’re providing the person-centered service they say they want. And I would never want to leave our families without support…

    We have an “away day” tomorrow which will be interesting, facing the question of what we do if/when we face funding cuts. The discussion will be divisive and volatile.

    I feel so depressed that we can work with people to understand what works for them, yet be thwarted by short sighted policies. I was drawn in 20+ years ago by the “equality, dignity, rights” philosophy and the opportunity to work with such amazing individuals. We have fought for this and opportunities are continuing to open up, especially with the new technology, opening up new channels of communication etc.

    Just feeling a little jaded. But that’s absolutely nothing to what the families and those with multiple disabilities who should have access to decent services are facing.

    A x

  3. Louise permalink

    Crying…..with laughter, I think!!!

  4. Sally permalink

    How about “Signposting – the act of telling a non human to look elsewhere for his or her Panda Cola now all the shops have closed.

  5. nic permalink

    Journey would be mine, in lieu of NHS palliative care/holistic assessment of end of life care for a disabled person. It is acceptable to offer up ” I have no idea how long your Journey will be and exit ” Can also be used by LA’s whenever more delay is desirable for assessment of need/service provision at which time ” we” are on a journey should be used to offer a sense of togetherness and hope. J for journey and like Sally signposting is a must.

  6. My own personal hate in this invented language (that was invented by people who have never been in the situation, to mask cuts) are acronyms that professionals then use as words to confuse and exclude those they are discussing- GIRFEC and SHANARI being the worst

  7. GIRFEC – Getting it right for every child – we needed a catchy acronym in case we forgot this!
    SHANARRI – is from the “wheel of well being” and stands for Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurturing,Active, Respected, Responsible and included apparently. It reminds me of Viv and Bob’s Dove from Above for some reason 😃

  8. Very interesting and influential approach. Thanks for this article. I really love this. Hope we as human being will understand such feelings and will be more humanity oriented. I have a huge interest in social service and I was just looking on history (as per my capacity) and what I realize that as we are growing in science and technology our capacity to fight the evils are increasing but those evils are taking space in our inside, means with the technology growth we are fighting with health issues more strongly but we are loosing our humanity day by day. I might be wrong but I welcome you comments on it.

    Thanks, Avanish

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