Why elderly care must be a priority

By Ken Deary, managing director of Right at Home UK
As the Government prepares its spending plans there needs to be a greater awareness of a major crisis looming in the care sector; which necessitates that a radical new approach to elderly care be adopted if this crisis is to be averted.

Government cuts and changing legislation have resulted in local authorities and health services only having funding for people with substantial needs. This leaves the vast majority of the elderly out in the cold having to fund their own care, rely on family members, or struggle on until their needs become severe.

With the growth in the ageing population (number of over 75s is predicted to increase by 76% in the next 15 years) I would argue that there needs to be a coordinated approach between the NHS, council-funded commissioning, the private care market and the families of those who need support to live at home. Joined up thinking needs to be deployed so we can provide quality care to vulnerable adults without crippling public services. In order to achieve this, we must reach people before their needs become critical, which means moving from “providing services” to “meeting care needs” and where possible prevent hospitalisation. This sentiment is clearly expressed in the new Care Act legislation.

Bed blocking is an increasing concern for the NHS and I believe that people who do not qualify for state support should be made more aware of what the private care sector offers; therefore, taking some of the pressure away from social services.

At present there is too much of a silo mentality with the public and private sectors working apart. Through greater collaboration I believe we can come up with some practical and innovative solutions before we reach crisis point.  Social services are already struggling to cope with demand and longer term there simply won’t be sufficient numbers of local authority commissioned carers to do the work.

Right at Home work largely in the private market providing the highest quality level of care to the elderly in their homes. Caring used to be regarded as a “Cinderella occupation” but that is not how we view it. The most valued people in our business are our care staff so we make sure they are fantastically well rewarded and supported; ensuring that they receive nothing but the best of training, including the UK’s only City & Guilds endorsed care certificate. Our staff also enjoy working hours to suit their lifestyle, industry leading pay rates, travel time, holiday pay, mileage allowance, recompense for training time and job shadowing.

Due to our care model being based upon longer visit times with regular clients, the real draw for our Care Givers is the amazing job satisfaction they get from improving the lives of others, while enjoying local work and hours to suit their lifestyle and family commitments.

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