Governing Home Care

Governing Home Care

A Cross-National Comparison

Globalization and Welfare series

Viola Burau, Hildegard Theobald and Robert H. Blank

Care of the elderly in their own homes has increasingly come into the focus of contemporary welfare policies and raises important questions about the governance of welfare in general. By taking a comparative and thematic approach, this interesting and timely book offers a comprehensive analysis of the principal issues surrounding the governance of home care.

Chapter 5: Integrating Informal Care Provision

Viola Burau, Hildegard Theobald and Robert H. Blank

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy


Until the 1980s, informal care delivery was a neglected area in mainstream social policy and scientific debate in most Western countries, despite its importance for care provision. Expectations of a gap in informal family care provision due to demographic and social changes as well as research findings on the significance of informal care opened up the social–political debate for the issue (Hochschild, 1995). The increasing recognition of informal care delivery is reflected in the introduction of new types of cash payments to support informal care giving, and a new balance between the provision of in-kind services and payments. Daly and Lewis (2000a) describe this new balance between cash payments and services as a crucial trend in the area of social care where the mixture differs among and within welfare states: ‘It involves not just the old either/or constellation of service, cash transfer or taxation but rather differentiation in the manner in which cash and services are combined to support private or public care on the part of the welfare states’ (ibid.: 292). As a result, the boundary between formal care provided by public, private for-profit or non-profit organisations and informal care provided by family members, relatives, friends or neighbours has become an area of conflict and re-negotiation as well as newly developed forms of cooperation. The restructurings centre on the macro level related to new forms of governance of care provision but also have implications for the micro level of daily care giving (Daly and Lewis, 1998). Care provision...

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