student profile: Ms Pam Joseph


Thesis work

Thesis title: Parent-carers' perspectives on their relationships with complex service systems.

Supervisors: Fran WAUGH , Rosalie POCKETT

Thesis abstract:

Care of a child (including adult children) with high-level care needs frequently involves interaction with multiple providers across diverse service systems. This study explores parent-carers' perspectives on their relationships with these services. By listening to, and privileging, the voices of parents, the study aims to contribute to an improved nexus between formal and informal care. Viewed through a critical lens, the emerging themes may challenge existing ways of thinking about these relationships and the conceptualisation of 'care' and 'caring'. The study uses a social constructionist approach, within a framework of critical post-modern feminism. Concepts found in complex systems theories, such as the importance of a nuanced and dynamic understanding of relationships, are also influential in the research design. In addition, I draw on the concept of disablement, as offered by the social model of disability. Parents participated in semi-structured interviews and used a low-tech mapping tool to create a visual record of the service systems with which they interacted. A thematic analysis explores areas of commonality and diversity across the oral and visual data. Questions of anonymity and confidentiality are pertinent when conducting research with participants whose individual circumstances may be sufficiently unusual as to be identifying. In addition to the standard written consent prior to data production, a post-interview consent form enabled parents to specify any constraints on the use of their information. With an increasing focus on person-centred practices, and the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, it is timely to develop new understandings of what it means to be a parent-carer in the context of complex formal service system involvement. The study will have implications for policy and practice in fields of health, disability, community services and education.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.