Last week the government revealed its social care funding reform. Paula Broadbent, managing director of Lovell Later Living, reflects on whether the change will enable the sector to better deliver on its core mission
The recent social care funding reform is a positive step forward, but it will not deal with the huge care provision issue in isolation.
Whilst the security of increased and sustained funding is critical to assist in transforming the social care system, and I am sure welcomed by care providers and commissioners, it does not go far enough.
It’s difficult to comprehend ministers do not see the crisis people providing care and people receiving care are facing every day. Due to the decades of social care being short changed, social care struggles more than ever to attract a workforce willing to care and give their all for less than a shop assistant working in Primark.
How can it be right to pay passionate people such poor wages who care and support those who have contributed to society throughout their lives?
The increase in national insurance and taxes is a solution to support the future – only if it is ring-fenced. But what about the here and now? The day-to-day personal care and support should be the focus to support people to live and age well in their own homes, alongside the focus on the affordability of residential care.
“The government should listen to the sector, which desperately needs a mixture of solutions that address the crisis of an underpaid and undervalued workforce”
Commissioners and providers are facing the perfect storm of Brexit removing part of the workforce and COVID pushing staff over the limit of human capacity, which naturally leaves services in the biggest crisis situation I have seen in my lifetime.
We need to change the emphasis of preventing people having to sell their homes to pay care-home charges to investing in quality care to keep people in their own homes to address need for institutional care.
People deserve so much more, and the government should listen to the sector, which desperately needs a mixture of solutions that address the present crisis of an underpaid and undervalued workforce. This would go some way to prevent the strain on hospital beds and inevitable deaths that will result from continuing to ignore the issue.
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But to stop the snowball effect of a deprived and neglected service over the past decades, the collaboration between housing, health, and social care is essential. We must invest in better homes for people to age well and focus on creating an enabling environment, preventing and or reducing the need for services. This would decentralise services and develop communities within local communities that generate their own localised support network and ecosystem.
A fundamental step-change in design and developing age-appropriate homes within communities is needed, which will go a long way to prevent and delay early morbidity. There are huge benefits to personalising local later living solutions, integrating in to intergeneration communities enabling people to live well in homes designed for the future rather than being reactive at a point in time to what is wrong with them. Housing has a crucial part to play in creating places that facilitate more integrated health and social care solutions.
We need investment in innovation, and we need to reach out to more people and to attract an extended workforce through intergenerational placeshaping.
We need to create environments that put people who draw on services at its heart, so that they are central to the decisions made about them through co-production.
And we need more creative thinking about the needs of the social care workforce, so that people who require services have a much better experience and outcomes from valued and supported workers.
Image: Paula Broadbent, managing director, Lovell Later Living
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