It’s a confusing time when it comes to adult social care.
It can be difficult to know where to turn with questions and when it comes to news articles in the UK it can be just as confusing.
We looked at 3 press pieces, written in February, June and September of this year to try to get an overview and the picture is far from clear.
February’s piece in the Guardian painted a grim picture , sharing highlights from the Age UK report on unmet care needs across the UK. It told the story of hundreds of thousands of over 50s left to struggle with chronic pain and anxiety issues due to shortfalls in the healthcare workforce.
Care at home was highlighted as a real area of concern, with limited support for everyday tasks like eating, dressing and even just getting out of bed. This caused a significant rise in unplanned hospital admissions, with increased ambulance queues outside A&E departments.
There were approximately 165,000 vacancies in social care roles, mostly in roles that provided home care, causing delays in discharging older people from hospital and a massive strain on the NHS.
In June, the NHS pushed back with an announcement of their Long Term Workforce Plan, aiming to meet the challenges of a growing and ageing population by recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands more staff over the next 15 years.
They conceded that without the plan, their current vacancies could well grow up to 360,000 by 2037.
The government-backed plan, with over £2.4bn of funding will focus on training for medical students, GPs and adult nurses, as well as retention strategies including career development, flexible working hours and reforms to the pension scheme.
But while this gives us hope for what the future may look like, it still doesn’t solve the problems we face in the here and now.
Families continue to struggle with care arrangements for their loved ones and the Financial Times recently called out the financial challenges with their request for real customer stories this September.
Highlighting the fact that a good care home can cost easily £1000 per week, they emphasised that there’s no way of knowing decades in advance how much care we will need and for how long. They conveyed the importance of thinking about it early and not putting it off with our heads in the sand.
With a real awareness of the critical situation, they openly asked for readers to share their own plans for funding care costs or the challenges they’d faced in helping family members to navigate the costs.
It’s an ongoing story and one that’s unlikely to have a happy ending in the near future. So in the meantime, we need to do what we can to look after ourselves and our families.
If you or your family are struggling with adult social care, please get in touch to see how we can help.