Category Archives: Social care

Age UK’s Integrated Care Programme is making a difference

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The need for integration in healthcare is very important and growing all the time.

Startling recent statistics show there are 2.6 million older people who live with multiple long term health conditions like diabetes, dementia and heart conditions. What’s more, over 65’s represent 60% of all hospital admissions, have longer average hospital stays than other age groups and are more likely to be readmitted within 28 days in an emergency.

It is against this backdrop that Age UK is expanding its Integrated Care Programme.

Our aim is to reduce the number of people with long-term conditions going into hospital through unplanned admissions, improve their health and wellbeing and ultimately deliver transformation to the whole system.   Continue reading

General Election Series: Care for today and tomorrow

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This week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on the importance of  having access to quality health and care services for all of us as we age. 

We are living in an increasingly ageing society. There are 11 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, 3 million of whom are aged 80 or over. The number of people over 85 in the UK is predicted to double in the next 20 years and nearly treble in the next 30. This is by any measure a triumph to be celebrated.

However we are far from being prepared for all the consequences of our longer lives. The social care system is a case in point. Care services are being cut – between 2005/6 and 2013/14 the proportion of people aged 65+ receiving care fell from 15.3% to 9.1%. This means over 380,000 fewer people receiving care than a decade ago. The number of people receiving home care has fallen by over 30%. Preventative services like day care and meals on wheels have been cut by over 60%. Continue reading

The more stringent the social care eligibility, the lower the quality of life of service users

After a comprehensive and meticulous review, we have recently published an academic paper that looks into efficiency in the provision of social care services for older people in England It is a difficult, technical piece; here we describe what we did and present the main results.

Efficiency denotes ‘doing more with less’ but sometimes is used as a euphemism for cuts.  This is not how we approached the issue. Rather, our yardstick was the quality of life of people receiving the services (that is, the users themselves). Higher quality of life equals higher efficiency. Simple.

Even if we focus on quality of life, we could think of efficiency in terms of either how to spend the least to generate a given level of quality of life or how to generate the most quality of life with the given bundle of resources available. We chose the latter approach. Focusing on spending the least would distract efforts away from people in need towards objectives expressed in expenditure items, sterling pounds, delivery contract clauses and the like. Instead, by focusing on making the most with what’s available we can learn about what may be behind that which matters to users of social care services and their families: their quality of life in relation with the care they get. Continue reading

The devastating truth of the social care crisis

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We all want the best for our parents and grandparents as they get older, and for ourselves when we reach our later years. In later life we might need a bit of help doing some of the things we take for granted when we are younger, and some older people need support with everyday things like going to the toilet, washing and preparing meals.

In a shocking analysis just released by Age UK, we see a social care system in deep decline. Despite rising numbers of older people, and growing demand for social care support, the amount spent on social care services for older people has fallen in England by £1.1 billion since 2010/11.

The sad reality behind the front doors to many homes is that every day hundreds of thousands of older people are left to battle on alone. Continue reading