Participation and co-production in the care and support of older people

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Co-production in care refers to the active input by people who use care services, as well as – or instead of – those who traditionally provide them. This contrasts with approaches that treat people as passive recipients of services designed and delivered by someone else (Needham and Carr 2009). Co-production emphasizes that the people who use services have assets which can help be actively used to improve those services. These assets might involve their skills, lived experience, and expertise. These are welcomed within a spirit of mutuality and reciprocity in support that builds on the older person’s existing capabilities to facilitate change and to find shared and sustainable solutions. Co-production may involve moving resources as closely as possible to the older person for example, by giving them the opportunity to commission their own care from a nominated or actual budget or to make decisions on how services are developed and commissioned (Social Care Institute for Excellence 2015; Hafford-Letchfield and Formosa 2016).

Participation of older patients in caregiving is just one of the mechanisms for enabling co-production in their care. Participation is more than simply having an opportunity to have one’s “voice” heard in caregiving, however. Achieving authentic participation of older persons in caregiving would require actively removing barriers or helping them to overcome any barriers in access to care services to their genuine involvement. Older persons would need to be in touch with the right people and be given as much knowledge as possible about their own rights relating to care and support. Participation would also involve those facilitating it to recognize and address the external factors which impact on an older person being able to participate (such as poverty, culture, and ageism to mention just a few). In summary, achieving co-production and participation of older people in care services warrants a robust empowering framework and very specific philosophical as well as practical approach in the methods used (Hafford-Letchfield 2016).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Ageing
EditorsDanan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9783319698922
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2019


  • ageing
  • co-production
  • older people
  • social care
  • participation
  • care and support
  • encyclopedia


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