Blog | Angela Gifford

The Reality of Our Care Services in 2016

For every two care homes that have closed in the last three years only one new care home has opened. The number of beds in the sector however has remained about the same. The reason for this is that the new homes opening are double the size compared to the ones that have closed. Usually small, independent homes have approximately 27 beds whilst the new hotel style ones being built have around 60plus. In addition, a recent survey advised the cost of being a resident was no indication of the quality of the care provided.

The UK has approx. 8000 home care agencies and at one time 60% were tied in to profitable, Council contracts. However as training requirements for care workers continually increase, the minimum wage implementation on an annual basis, councils going for the lowest tender rather than the quality provider, the market place has changed and many care providers cannot afford to work with councils.

As a result care providers are handing their contracts back to councils, large dual providers (residential and domiciliary care) have pulled out of the domiciliary care sector and home care providers are either selling up or as happened recently, shutting their doors leaving clients uncovered and staff not getting paid.

Individuals, who for many years have been in receipt of care hours, having been assessed annually as needing a set number of hours are finding that assessments in the last twelve months are telling a different story. Care hours paid for by the State are being reduced, care hours that have been consistently provided over long periods are no longer offered.

Families of older people ready for a hospital discharge tell stories of social workers suggesting or assuming that a care home will be the route to choose for their loved one rather than investigating the care at home system.

So what does this all point to? It points to a care system in crisis. Governments cannot provide solutions for the majority of our older generation and this fact requires older people themselves, their families, their health professionals and other advisors to recognise the reality and take responsibility for any care that is needed or going to be needed.

Care costs and with the Living Wage scheduled to be £9.00 per hour from 2020 then the average hourly cost of agency care, now just under £16.00 per hour, will rise.

Equity release, savings, investments, insurance products will all need to be considered as funding for the grudge but necessary purchase when care is required.

By:  Angela E Gifford
Posted:  24 Mar 2016

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