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Personal Alarms can help with the Social Care Funding Crisis

• Written by Emma Pett


On an almost weekly basis the news highlights the difficulties that the Social Care sector faces as local authority funding is subject to austerity cost savings which have a real impact on the safety and well-being of the people who require assistance the most.

As the NHS celebrated its 70th Birthday in 2018, its poorer twin, Social Care, is suffering more cuts to funding that affect the ability for people to access quality services:

“Failure to integrate social and healthcare provision leads to worse outcomes for all.” - Financial Times, July 2018

The onus is on potential service users to either fund the shortfall of their care or look for practical solutions that enable them to maintain their independence and meet their needs.

The Social Care Funding Crisis

The UK has an ageing population, with a large number of people requiring additional care needs that require the support of Community Carers, Residential Support and Nursing Care that are subject to assessment for local authority funding to maintain their dignity, independence and ability to access the community.

But where does this funding come from? In practical terms, funding for Social Care comes from either self-funded means, through the sale of the individual’s home, or through means tested assessment and allocation of hours by local authorities to the individual - described as their “Care Package.” The practical delivery of the client’s care package is left to the providers in the area that offer the often specialist services needed, and these are the most affected by Austerity cuts in real terms. This is seen most often with the variable quality of care provided at source by providers in different areas of the UK.

As the Care and Support Alliance UK write in their “Voices from the social care crisis”, Community Carers often do multiple appointments a day and rush through or miss appointments with clients to fit more in, neglecting the most basic needs of the client if it is not on their care plan. Although the Care Quality Commission (CQQ) regularly inspect and assess service providers and services, the emphasis on value for money and making savings mean that there can be poor facilities, a lack of new and up to date equipment being used and clients can have treatment delayed because of the lack of support readily available.

In addition, the current Social Care System is often difficult to navigate at the point of need and can be financially devastating for those who need to sell their homes to fund their care packages where the means tested assessments show a lack of eligibility for funded support. As the Financial Times states:

“It is as clear for those experiencing the vexations of old age, as for those providing the care — that failure to integrate social and healthcare provision leads to worse outcomes for all. The most visible sign of failure is patients blocking hospital beds due to the absence of social care support for them on discharge. The inequity of the system — almost all your costs are covered by the NHS if you are a cancer sufferer in old age, whilst almost none are if you suffer from dementia — is also unjustifiable.” (Financial Times July 2018)

Research from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) recognises the crisis faced by local Authorities to provide effective care solutions for the most vulnerable in society amidst funding cuts, and many authorities are effectively running out of cash at a rapid pace.

The knock-on effect of the dwindling funding options available for care funding, have a direct impact on the health and safety of the most vulnerable people in society who need practical solutions available to them to offset the shortfall in the care and support they receive as well as minimising the impact that this will have on the NHS. In the 2019/2020 budget, The Chancellor Phillip Hammond earmarked £650 million towards social care funding to local authorities in Britain, of which only £200 million would be specifically for Adult and Senior Care provision. In realistic terms, this sum is a drop in the ocean.

The Independent’s article opined that the figure allotted should have been higher, Independent researchers have set a realistic funding figure of at least £2.3bn at base level without any growth for Social Care. The impact of a lack of funding in social care places added pressures on the NHS for patients who cannot be discharged home without an appropriately funded Care Plan and support package to assist in their convalescence causing a potential bed blocking crisis. The onus is then on clients and their families looking for alternative provisions to support their care needs with affordable options that are available to everyone.

How can a Personal Alarm Help?

Our service offers a solution to enable older people to maintain their independence in their own home, with the safety and security of a personal alarm system reducing the pressure on the already underfunded social care system by providing support at the touch of a button. Having a personal alarm can be the deciding factor that enables an older person to be discharged from hospital, once medically cleared, without having to wait for funding and an appropriate care package to be funded for them. The alarm provides older people with the peace of mind of having help available when it is needed most. It is an affordable home care solution for clients and their loved ones that doesn’t require the expense of a care home.

Our personal alarm service can help by enabling our clients to maintain their independence in their own home and have a highly-trained, TSA Accredited Response Team at the end of the line who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It can also complement the care provision offered to older people, offering peace of mind between carer visits in case of emergencies.

The Personal Alarm system comprises of two parts, a waterproof pendant that can be worn on the wrist or around the neck and an alarm base unit with an inbuilt speaker. The waterproof pendant can be worn safely in the bath or shower, or outside in the garden due to its long range of signal.

The alarm is also simple to use. In the event of a fall, feeling unwell or any other type of medical emergency, simply press the red button on the alarm base unit or your pendant and speak directly with the Response Team, who will reassure you and assess you before taking any further actions. They will contact your emergency contacts for you requesting that they visit you urgently.

If you also require the emergency services to be called, the Response Team will contact them for you. They will provide paramedics with the essential information such as your medical history and symptoms that they need to ensure they are in the best possible informed position to help you when they arrive on the scene.

In this time of great uncertainty with social care funding. Lifeline24 offers another option for older people needing care support.

More Information

Learn more about our alarms in our in-depth guide, or please speak to our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2019 when you order one of our personal alarm systems on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.

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