September 10, 2021
Professional Care Workers’ Week is taking place this week from the 6th – 10th September and is hosted by The Care Workers’ Charity.
It provides a platform for people to share best practice, share their experiences and have discussions about the future of social care, how to retain and build the workforce, and the rise of technology.
The Future of Social Care
The UK has an ageing population and the pressures on the care system will only increase. While living longer is considered positive, many older people will develop health conditions which mean they need help with day-to-day life.
A report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society from the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science set out estimates for the number of people with dementia and the cost of dementia care in the UK, in 2019, with projections to 2040. This report stated that the number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to more than double to 1.6 million by 2040.
Some of the key findings of the report included the cost of care to families of people with dementia:
- Families pay more than 60% of the total social care costs in England, paying £8.3 billion a year, whilst the state pays £5.2 billion.
- ‘Unpaid carers’, or families and friends providing care to their loved ones, are providing care to a value of £13.9 billion a year. This will increase to £35.7 billion by 2040.
We asked Bridgewater Home Care’s founder and Managing Director, Phil Eckersley to share his views about the future of social care.
Phil told us,” Delivering care is a skilled and unique profession and never has the role of care workers been so important. As the demographics of the western world show an increasing number of people living longer there will be a continued urgent need for care services for older people, how these will be delivered will be the great challenge of the 21st Century, with the ratio of working people to retired becoming slimmer by the decade.”
Phil added, “Within the social care industry there needs to be a professionalisation of the role to bring it up to at least the same level of value as healthcare i.e., Nurses in the NHS when it comes to training requirements and pay levels. There are too many people that believe social care is not a career and that there are very limited progression opportunities. As part of the ‘professionalisation agenda’, this needs to be factored in. “
Social Care Funding
Unlike the NHS, social care is means-tested. To receive help from your local authority, you must have a very high level of need and, in England and Northern Ireland, savings and assets of less than £23,250.
The government has announced a health and care funding plan to raise £12bn a year between 2022-23 and 2024-25, although adult social care is due to receive just £1.8bn of this. The funding boost will be met by an increase in national insurance payments from next April.
Nearly 300,000 people are on local authority “waiting lists” for adult social care services in England because of funding pressures and delays in assessments from social workers, according to council care chiefs. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) says that this is up 26% in three months and that this is “neither fair nor acceptable” and a “stark reminder of why we need investment in care and support now”.
Our Managing Director, Phil Eckersley believes that” there needs to be a funding model that stops councils and NHS commissioners cutting provider rates to balance their budgets. This could be something like (at the very minimum) matching minimum wage increases plus employment costs each year. This could be called the ‘Social Care Guarantee’ so that commissioning bodies must meet the % increases in National Minimum Wage and preferably they should be at least 150% of the National Minimum Wage increase to cover the added costs of employing people such as NI, pension contributions, travel time and training costs. “
Whether receiving full funding, part funding or self-funding our Bridgewater Home Care team can guide you through all the options and exactly what they mean for you and your loved one. Keeping family members well informed is extremely important so the whole family can make the best decision possible for their loved one. We can provide advice on which services we think may benefit the individual the most and we do not try to encourage services that we think would not contribute to enhancing the life of an individual.
The Rise of Technology
To better understand the changing use of technology during the response to the Covid19 pandemic, NHSX commissioned Digital Social Care, working with the Institute of Public Care (IPC) at Oxford Brookes University, to carry out rapid action research and analysis of adult social care provider services. The aim of the research was to share learning on how technology is being used, and to capture the barriers, enabling factors and benefits of adopting technology.
The report on the use of technology in social care contains a number of recommendations to ensure the sector continues to take up digital solutions and details how providers can be supported.
While technology can enhance care provision, the therapeutic effects of human interaction can never be underestimated. Our Care specialists do a fantastic job and while technical skills and knowledge can be learned, human qualities are vital for those that deliver the care and for those that need the support in their own homes.
Phil Eckersley sees technology continuing to play a major role in supporting better coordination of care around a client’s needs in their own home. Phil states that “with people living longer and more people requiring support to live in their own homes, and fewer people available to care for those in need, technology will have to play a key role in enabling people to live well in their own homes in old age. From present-day assistive technology, such as alarm bracelets and medication dispensers, to the tech of tomorrow with perhaps robotic assistants helping with day-to-day tasks, both the sector and Government need to push for a future that encourages technology in care, supported by the ever-important human element.”
At Bridgewater Home Care we have developed our service to be the ‘one stop shop’ to meet all the needs of those in our care. If you are interested in the services that Bridgewater Home Care can offer then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 335 7888, our friendly and professional team will be delighted to assist.