CARE: Older People’s Care Survey

The Family and Childcare Trust have just published their Older People’s Care Survey. the full version is available to download from their website (pdf file) but here’s the summary and key findings to give to a taste of what it is about:

Older people’s care is vitally important to all of us. Everyone has the right to safe, comfortable and dignified care when they are unable to look after themselves, and no-one should be frightened about what will happen when they get old. Good quality care which is affordable at
the point of use supports older people to live well into old age. When it is not available it causes
entirely avoidable suffering, creates stress and worry for families, and often forces people into
impossible efforts to look after a loved one without support. Failures in the care system cause
major problems for the NHS, with delays in discharging people from hospital because no care is
available costing many millions of pounds.

Local authorities are responsible for providing care for older people who cannot afford it
themselves, generally by paying third party providers. They also have a role in managing the
market for people who pay for their own care. The Family and Childcare Trust surveyed all
local authorities and health and social care trusts to find out about care across the UK. We
asked whether there was enough provision available, and how much it cost for the people who
received it.

The survey reveals that there are serious issues in older people’s care. Older people and their
families face an ongoing struggle to get the care they need at a price they can afford. For
many people a decent choice of care services that is appropriate for their needs is simply
unavailable. Their choices are often made harder due to a lack of information about the care
that is available in their area, and what they can expect to pay.

As pressures on the system are set to increase, the Government must act to reform it now.

Key Findings – Is there enough care available for older people?

► Only one in five funding authorities (20 per cent) reported having enough older people’s
care in their area to meet demand. Over 6.4 million people aged 65 and over live in those
areas with insufficient care provision.

► There is wide regional variation in availability of care services. Only 7 per cent of councils in
Outer London reported having enough care to meet demand in their area, while in the North
East the figure is 57 per cent.

► There is also wide variation in the types of services which have problems meeting demand.
While 84 per cent of respondents in the UK said they had enough availability for care home
places, that figure falls to 48 per cent for home care, 44 per cent for extra care homes, and
32 per cent for nursing homes with specialist dementia support.

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