Health and Social Care Dissertation Topics

Example health and social care dissertation topic 1:

A review of best practice with the regard to the dissemination of information between nurses and doctors on a paediatric ward.

Conscious of the need, as noted by the Royal College of Nursing (2010), for professionalism to be shown by doctors to nurses, this dissertation evaluates the extent to which respect is indeed shown in two paediatric wards – those of Leeds Royal Infirmary and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Using a thorough review of existing literature on the holistic care needs of patients as well as that relating to the barriers to effective communication within the profession, this dissertation is additionally strengthened through the use of primary interviews with ward sisters and trainee nurses. Through these mechanisms, the dissertation will not only provide a ‘snap shot’ of the present day realities of ward life but also proffer suggestions as to how to maximise the respect agenda within the NHS.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Schofield, R.F. and Amodeo, M. (1999). ‘Interdisciplinary teams in health care and human services settings: are they effective?’. Health & Social Work, vol. 24(3), pp. 210-219.
  • Bronstein, L.R. (2003). ‘A model for interdisciplinary collaboration’. Social Work, vol. 48(3), pp. 297-306.
  • Sloper, P. (2004). ‘Facilitators and barriers for co-ordinated multi-agency services’. Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 30(6), pp. 571-580.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 2:

Reviewing failure – The lessons to be learned from Baby P.

The failures of Haringey Borough Council that contributed to the death of Baby P have already been well documented and it is this data that forms the academic backdrop to this study. Contextualising those failings through cross reference to other similar cases – such as those mentioned – this dissertation questions whether lessons really have been learnt from mistakes or whether a culture of institutional nonchalance still prevails within some social services departments within the UK. Recommending tougher sanctions against staff who have been found to have failed service users, this is a dissertation that has the potential to help shape future safe-guarding policies through advancing the creation of a framework of independent overseers to monitor the activities of social care professionals nationwide.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Blakemore, K. (2008). ‘Health and social care needs in minority communities: An over-problematized issue?’ Health & Social Care in the Community, vol. 8(1), pp. 22-30.
  • Statham, J. and Smith, M. (2010). Issues in earlier intervention: Identifying and supporting children with additional needs. Institute of Education, University of London: Thomas Coram Research Unit.
  • Tanner, K. and Turney, D. (2003). ‘What do we know about child neglect? A critical review of the literature and its application to social work practice’. Child & Family Social Work, vol. 8(1), pp. 25-34.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 3:

An investigation into the motivation of foster careers within Cumbria.

Noting that the number of foster parents coming forward nationally is declining, this dissertation focuses on a specific county within north-western England. Mindful of the plethora of ethical considerations that research of this type involves, this dissertation nevertheless seeks to interview professionals, parents and children to ascertain their varied perceptions as to why fewer families are coming forward to foster. In so doing, the methodology will need to demonstrate a sound grasp of ethical research practices. Using a Likert scale and quantitative data sampling techniques, this is a dissertation that combines theory, practice and social science statistical research models.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Kirton, D. (2001). ‘Love and money: Payment, motivation and the fostering task’. Child & Family Social Work, vol. 6(3), pp. 199-208.
  • Neil, E., Beek, M. and Schofield, G. (2003). ‘Thinking about and managing contact in permanent placements: The differences and similarities between adoptive parents and foster carers’. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 8(3), pp. 401-418.
  • Tyebjee, T. (2003). ‘Attitude, interest, and motivation for adoption and foster care’. Child Welfare, vol. 82(6), pp. 685.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 4:

The death of volunteerism within social care: An unexpected impact of the CRB?

Taking a revisionist approach, this dissertation looks at a peripheral service within social care: that of the provision by the voluntary sector of Meals on Wheels. Within Somerset, there has been a marked decline in the number of volunteers coming forward to assist with this lifeline to the elderly with the result that the service is desperately short of delivery drivers. This dissertation seeks, through the conducting of fieldwork to test the hypothesis that the decline in volunteers is a consequence of people not being prepared to be ‘vetted by the central state’ for an act of kindness and seeks, thereafter, to ask, what can be done within the present legislative framework to reverse the trend of declining volunteerism.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Eisch-Angus, K. (2011). ‘”You can’t argue with security.” The communication and practice of everyday safeguarding in the society of security’. Behemoth, vol. 4(2), pp. 83-106.
  • Jamison, I.B. (2003). ‘Turnover and retention among volunteers in human service agencies’. Review of Public Personnel Administration, vol. 23(2), pp. 114-132.
  • O’Dwyer, C. and Timonen, V. (2009). ‘Doomed to extinction? The nature and future of volunteering for meals-on-wheels services’. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, vol. 20(1), pp. 35-49.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 5:

Gay marriage and Catholic fostering: The implications.

The issue of gay rights and particularly those relating to marriage is a contemporary contentious issue – as is the vigour with which the Catholic Church has denounced moves by the Coalition Government led by David Cameron to legalise same-sex marriages. Noting the role of Catholic adoption agencies, the dogma of faith, and the equality agenda, this dissertation seeks to evaluate the repercussions of the continued hostility of the Catholic Church to gay marriage on issues of adoption once same-sex marriages have become, as seems likely, a legislated reality. This is a cutting-edge area of research and, well written, should be readily publishable.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Hicks, S. (2005).’ Lesbian and gay foster care and adoption: A brief UK history’. Adoption & Fostering Journal, vol. 29(3), pp. 42-56.
  • Hicks, S. (2006). ‘Maternal men – perverts and deviants? Making sense of gay men as foster carers and adopters’. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, vol. 2(1), pp. 93-114.
  • Logan, J. and Sellick, C. (2007). ‘Lesbian and gay fostering and adoption in the United Kingdom: Prejudice, progress and the challenges of the present’. Social Work and Social Sciences Review-An International Journal of Applied, vol. 13(2), pp. 35-47.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 6:

Co-ordinating agencies in the community: A review of case studies.

Using a case study approach, this dissertation reviews four cases in Wolverhampton involving the elderly. Charting their progression through both the NHS (as admitted patients) and thereafter as social service clients (using a variety of ‘home’ services), this dissertation first provides an overview of the services used and the communication difficulties that can arise in multi-agency working. Thereafter, through interviewing the varied actors and clients (using pseudonyms to ensure confidentiality is maintained), the dissertation highlights areas where the service offered could have been improved. Finally, in the third part of the dissertation, the dissertation provides a series of costed proposals so as to maximise the holistic care that patients and social care service users receive.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Hooyman, N.R. and Kiyak, H.A. (2008). Social gerontology: A multidisciplinary perspective. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • K�mpers, S., Mur, I., Hardy, B., van Raak, A. and Maarse, H. (2006). ‘Integrating dementia care in England and the Netherlands: Four comparative local case studies’. Health & Place, vol. 12(4), pp. 404-420.
  • Wilson, R., Baines, S., Cornford, J. and Martin, M. (2007). ”Trying to do a jigsaw without the picture on the box’: Understanding the challenges of care integration in the context of single assessment for older people in England’. International Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 7(2).

Example health and social care dissertation topic 7:

Who cares for the carer?’ – A plea for reform.

Furthering the contention that the families (and other volunteer parts of the support-network) are a forgotten group without whom the care of individuals would suffer, this dissertation reviews existing state provisions for carer payments and respite care. Noting that the former has failed to keep pace with inflation and that the latter is increasingly under-threat as a consequence e of budget cuts, this dissertation makes the case for full-time carers who are family members to be given a ‘living wage’ by the state for the support that they give to those who depend upon them. It additionally argues that each such person should receive one month’s statutory leave per month (paid) whilst the state provides alternative facilities for the disabled family member. Conscious that such an appeal may not be popular in a time of austerity, this is a dissertation that seeks to challenge existing societal attitudes to disabled care and suggests that the manner in which society looks after its most vulnerable members is a true measure of civility.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Eagar, K., Owen, A., Williams, K., Westera, A., Marosszeky, N., England, R. and Morris, D. (2007). Effective caring: A synthesis of the international evidence on carer needs and intervention. Wollongong, NSW: Centre for Health Service Development, Australia, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong.
  • Glendinning, C. and Bell, D. (2008). Rethinking social care and support: What can England learn from other countries? York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  • McConkey, R., Kelly, F., Mannan, H. and Craig, S. (2010). ‘Inequalities in respite service provision: Insights from a national, longitudinal study of people with intellectual disabilities’. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 23(1), pp. 85-94.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 8:

Care in the community 25 years on – A rejoinder.

Twenty five years have now passed since the care in the community revolution ushered in by Thatcher and concentrates on those reforms that were focused upon those who suffer from severe mental health problems. Interviewing staff, clients, and their families, this dissertation revisits not only those who were affected by the changes in service delivery as they happened, but also assess the positives and negatives that those reforms brought; questioning whether the level of care has in fact, despite guarantees given at the time, decreased as a result of it not being institutionally based.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Bhui, K., Shanahan, L. and Harding, G. (2006). ‘Homelessness and mental illness: A literature review and a qualitative study of perceptions of the adequacy of care’. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 52(2), pp. 152-165.
  • Cairney, P. (2009). ‘The ‘British policy style’ and mental health: Beyond the headlines’. Journal of Social Policy, vol. 38(4), pp. 1-18.
  • Killaspy, H. (2006). ‘From the asylum to community care: Learning from experience’. British Medical Bulletin, vol. 79(1), pp. 245-258.

Example health and social care dissertation topic 9:

The language dilemma: Doctors, immigration and patient care.

This dissertation investigates the dangers that may arise as a consequence of employing foreign nationals within the NHS. Noting the requirements of the EU with regard to ‘the right to work’ this study suggests that such legislation has, unintentionally, led to a situation where patient care may be jeopardise as a result of failures of communication between patients and doctors where first languages are not shared. Commenting upon a range of case studies that have been noted in the press over the past five years as well as undertaking interviews with staff, patients and prosecutors, this is a dissertation that combines theoretical and practical issues of patient care with issues relating to wider employment legislation.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Cohn, S., Alenya, J., Murray, K., Bhugra, D., De Guzman, J. and Schmidt, U. (2006). ‘Experiences and expectations of refugee doctors: A qualitative study’. The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 189(1), pp. 74-78.
  • George, J.T., Rozario, K.S., Anthony, J., Jude, E B. and McKay, G.A. (2007). ‘Non-European Union doctors in the National Health Service: Why, when and how do they come to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?’ Human Resources for Health, vol. 5(1), pp. 6-10.
  • National Health Executive (2012). ‘Language skills unchecked in foreign doctors’. National Health Executive. Available at:

Example health and social care dissertation topic 10:

A need for pre-emptive interventions: Dysfunctional body imaging and mental health in adolescent girls in Cyprus.

First noting the rise in mental health problems amongst teenage girls, and how these appear to be linked to body image, this dissertation secondly evaluates the present range of intervention strategies that are used in public and private medical facilities in Cyprus. In so doing it highlights the role of social workers, health care professionals and teachers. Thereafter, it interviews teenagers who have attempted self-harm and seeks comments from them as to how the services available to them could be improved. Societal concerns relating to the pornographication of youth and the pressures put on teenage girls is growing: this dissertation attempts to provide a range of practical solutions to address these worries.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Crutzen, R. and De Nooijer, J. (2011). ‘Intervening via chat: An opportunity for adolescents’ mental health promotion?’ Health Promotion International, vol. 26(2), pp. 238-243.
  • Fontana, D. and Apostolidou, M. (2001). ‘Perspectives of serving teachers on the respective importance of areas deemed suitable for inclusion in the health education curriculum for Cyprus schools’. Health Education Journal, vol. 60(2), pp. 173-183.
  • Kokkevi, A., Rotsika, V., Arapaki, A. and Richardson, C. (2011). ‘Adolescents’ self-reported suicide attempts, self-harm thoughts and their correlates across 17 European countries’. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 53(4), pp. 381-389.

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