Best use of social care? Adapt!
Social care continues to be a hot topic- some would say it was a major influencer in the outcome of the General Election. Regardless of how much money is in the pot, is the issue ACTUALLY how we use it? Do we make best use of it? Do providers achieve best value?
A study has highlighted that, where people have moved into residential care, those who had received a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) beforehand required the residential care for a third of the time of those that had not had a DFG. Those who had a DFG were also older when they first needed residential care.
The study highlighted the cost differential: the average residential care place costs £29,000 pa; the average DFG less than £7,000, and is a ‘one off’ payment.
More often than not, a DFG involves adapting the bathroom- logical, when you consider it’s something we do every day, and on average more than any other ‘activity’. Also, mobility and dexterity are two of the four most common impairments. Both significantly impact on going to the bathroom without help.
A separate report highlights one of issues in provision of adaptations and social care is balancing the Occupational Therapist objective of delivering a solution that is ‘necessary and appropriate’ against that of the housing authority, which is something ‘reasonable and practical’.
I’d suggest, based on the maths above, delivering a home adaptation is clearly a solution that satisfies both objectives. Statistics imply that home adaptations are on the increase, but is that a true reflection of our use of social care budgets? Is there a genuine increase, a realisation that they deliver better value, or is it purely because of the numbers of people who now need some degree of care is growing?
Regardless, to make the best use of funds, we need to fundamentally adjust the way we approach delivery of care. As far as possible, where relevant, we need to adapt the home environment, and build more lifetime homes.
To do so helps people remain independent. It helps them be in control. It improves their wellbeing. It costs less!