In a worrying situation, the total people receiving adult social care fell in the 2017-2018 period. Indeed, fewer numbers of people who were 65 or older also received long-term assistance over the last couple of years.
Local council support saw a continued downtown in people supported
The report on behalf of the National Health Service found that local councils provided support to over 857,000 men and women, which was a decline in the number of people supported by 11,000 or 1.28 percent. This decline is the third year in succession that the numbers of people supported was reduced while the actual spending by councils on elderly care continued to rise.
Long-term care support for people 65 years old or older also declined too. Whereas 577,600 people received care the previous year, the number fell to 565,385 pensioners who received care in the latest statistics. All told, there are now 22,000 fewer people who are of pensionable age and benefiting from long-term care compared to 2015-2016.
Demand increases as cost pressures increase
The demand for long-term care services including for the elderly continues to increase. Councils across the U.K. collectively saw a moderate increase from 132,040 to 132,690 people making support requests when looking at the years starting in 2017-2018 vs 2016-2017.
At the same time as demand for services remained strong, the ability of councils to fund the growing cost of taking care of young and older people was an ongoing struggle. Budgets aren’t necessarily rising and with councils having difficulty funding the requirements of people living inside their borough, it’s difficult to see what the future holds. Certainly, reducing healthcare costs has to be priority number one, however, few of the care homes are directly owned by the councils themselves.
Adult care requests growing, not just elderly care
The total requests received by all local authorities for adult social services was 1,843,920. This spans all adult age groups, not just the elderly. It was a 29,505 jump from the previous year, which is a noticeable 1.6 percent increase year-over-year.
To put this into perspective, there were around 5,052 new requests for assistance every day across the country, which is a jump up from 4,971 the previous year. The North East saw the greatest number of requests, but this included multiple requests from the same person in some cases. The East of England had the fewest requests per person, on average.
In terms of age range, people who were 65 and above comprised over 70 percent of all requests for assistance submitted to local councils. A decline to provide services via the council was issued in 495,635 individual cases (causing some to change their application and re-apply). This amounted to 27 percent all requests being refused. This is roughly a one percent drop from the previous year.
Looking at social care for adults across the UK in 2017-2018, it rose by 3.3 percent from approximately £20.6 billion to £21.3 billion (the increase was £684 million).
The need for fresh solutions is clear
Demand for adult social care is currently outstripping the ability of councils to manage. One of the reasons for this is the rising cost of elderly care, which is more than two-thirds of all social care provided by local councils at the present time.
One way to help in this regard is with the provision of care home software. The software systems used by most homes are often poor and inefficient. Usually, the software is at least half a decade old and only runs on PCs that it’s been installed on. Nurses walking around care homes don’t usually have access to the latest information on each person staying in a care home facility. Information is passed from one shift worker to the next with it being all too easy to forget tasks along the way.
Using the latest care home software solutions, it’s possible to view the health records of all people staying there. Tasks relating to someone staying there are listed on a To-Do list that people on a different shift can all see. Tasks can be marked as completed and get added to a resident’s log. Any overdue tasks are highlighted so they can be completed ASAP. By using this type of system, resident information is accessible by healthcare staff and the latest tasks relating to them can be pulled up quickly on a secure smartphone or tablet. Nursing and administration staff can operate far more efficiently and effectively, which reduces the costs involved.
As the cost of providing care through the social program weighs more heavily on local councils, urging care homes to adopt more efficient operating practices is a win-win for everyone involved. They lower their costs, which means councils are able to help more applicants seeking social support and care homes can operate better.
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