Introducing Community Care
Over the past thirty years community care has come to be almost universally espoused as a desirable objective for service providers and users and a central pillar of policy for governments and politicians of all persuasions. This chapter provides the reader with an initial introduction to community care in terms of definitions, key issues, the legislative framework and the main agencies which are involved in policy making and implementation. The obvious starting point for a book about the policy and practice of community care is to offer a clear statement on what it understands by the term ‘community care’. Which groups will be covered? Will the book cover unpaid care as well as paid care? Does it include institutional care as well as domiciliary services? Which health care services are included? What does ‘community’ mean in the context of the term ‘community care’? These are simple questions but do not necessarily have simple answers. ‘Community care’ has long been a contested term used by different people in different ways at different points in time.
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