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domiciliary care: a perfect storm

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The domiciliary care market is in unprecedented times – how Alertacall’s WellBeing Proactive service can help alleviate the pressures providers face.

In Autumn 2019 the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) undertook a survey that showed an overwhelming 94% of directors had little or no confidence in the ability to deliver their statutory responsibilities by the end of 2020-2021. A stark statistic in a market already under strain.

Providing care to individuals in their own home is funded in two ways; funded by local authorities or privately funded. According to the NHS this cost is around £19 billion a year, with slightly more being privately funded. In addition, a huge amount of care is provided by family or friends, who act as unpaid carers, which is driven by a lack of affordability or availability of paid for services.

The care market faces multiple challenges:

  • Demand is going up sharplyWe all know the population is ageing, and this increase is dramatic amongst some groups most likely to require care. The number of over 85s will double to 2.7 million in the next 20 years. With over a third of over 65s living alone, support cannot come from a partner.
  • There are already major staff shortages – Skills For Care estimate that around 8% of posts are unfilled, representing 122,000 vacancies. To meet the rising demand it is estimated over half a million more staff will be required in the next 15 years.
  • Limitations with overseas recruitment – The UK Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) predict that post-Brexit immigration rules will shrink the workforce in domiciliary care by 3%, and the ability to recruit from overseas will become more difficult.
  • Costs are rising – According to 86% of ADASS directors, the largest driver here will be the increase in the National Living Wage, which for those over 25 rises by 6.2% to £8.72 in April 2020.
  • Funding has fallen – Despite the increase in demand, funding has actually fallen in the past 10 years – by 3% in the past 10 years (Institute of Government).

With demand outstripping supply, affordability is a critical issue. A brief single in-home visit once a day costs over £7,000 a year. For many funders, both private and public, this may lead to limiting the care provided – perhaps not having care every day, or only having support once a day, when a second or subsequent confirmation of a person’s wellbeing will be desirable.

Alertacall’s WellBeing Proactive service is being introduced by domiciliary care providers to complement their own services and help mitigate some of the challenges identified above. Individuals are given touchscreens or another device, and simply press an ‘OKEachDay’ button to confirm their wellbeing. If for any reason the button is not pressed, then the friendly team from Alertacall call the individual to establish wellbeing. If for any reason, there is no contact we will escalate to ensure the individual is safe and well. The service works 365 days a year and wellbeing can be established once a day or more often. The service provides a valuable safety net for those days or times when an in-home visit is not taking place. All of our team members receive specialised training on communicating with higher needs groups and in relaying messages specific to the needs of the organisation.

WellBeing Proactive costs less than £1 a day and consequently, in some circumstances, it may provide the opportunity to replace a personal visit where budgetary pressures exist.

The care provider can also use the service for messaging, for example for appointment reminders, safety messages, or for social prescribing purposes.

WellBeing Proactive also gives individuals the opportunity to talk to team members 365 days a year, and helps to reduce the feelings of social isolation. Ultimately, the service helps to keep individuals safe at home for longer which will significantly reduce some of the pressures facing local authorities, social care services, the NHS, as well as domiciliary care providers.

If you are a local authority or a provider of domiciliary care and want to know more about how WellBeing Proactive can help support you provide services to those living in their own homes call us on 0808 208 1234 or email and we will answer any questions that you have.