Some challenges are too big to tackle on your own. And taking care of the increasing care needs of an ageing population is probably as big a challenge as you can ask for. But what sort of social care partnerships would be needed to deliver a sustainable solution?
Currently we have too many older people stuck in hospital beds because there is no suitable care they can be transferred to. Either that or the process for commissioning that care doesn’t work as well as it should.
While we have more people needing more complex care outside of hospitals we also have care homes closing. Some owners struggle to meet the demands of CQC standards and the expectations of funders and residents and still make even a modest profit to remain viable and re-invest in the changing needs of clients.
Historically, relationships between health services and local authority commissioners, and the largely private organisations that deliver care have been too ‘insular.’ At the same time financial pressures have led to care commissioning being ‘commoditized’ rather than being planned and delivered in partnership.
Whatever structures and systems we put in place they can’t be fully effective unless we also create a different culture; one in which we collaborate openly and make the best use of our collective resources and expertise.
Care homes need the input of health specialists to make sure we provide for all the physical, emotional and mental needs of our residents. Supporting a healthy care sector will also help ease the pressure on hospital beds and speed up the transfer of care to either residential or domiciliary provision.
The more we collaborate and communicate the better we will understand each other’s issues and objectives. This is the vital first step towards finding joint solutions and making better use of everyone’s scarce resources.
For care users there should increasingly be one conversation that leads to the right care and support being provided by the right person at the right time. This won’t just improve quality of life it can also save repeated or emergency hospital admissions that further drain resources and cause distress.
In running our care homes in Dorset and Somerset we always remember that we don’t have the monopoly on good ideas. Our culture is to work collaboratively with a wide range of partners in health services and other organisations to meet the diverse needs of our residents, to help them stay happy and healthy.