Prevention is the best cure to ease winter pressures, says new report by ADASS
Improving care at home, more sheltered, extra care and dementia focussed housing, investment in crisis resolution intermediate care and better information and advice for older and disabled people would prevent many from needing hospital or residential care, reducing pressures across health and social care every winter, says a new report from ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services).
In the first part of the ADASS Autumn Survey 2023 almost two thirds (63%) of social care leaders say that community-based care and support is not widely available in their local area[i]. Just under half (49%) of adult social care directors indicated that in their area there is only limited availability of preventative services focused on reducing the number of avoidable admissions to hospital and residential care[ii].
This gap in early support is made worse by a lack of information and advice so people can make an informed choice about the care they or family members need. Two in five (39%) social care directors report that there is limited availability of timely information, advice and support in their local areas[iii].
Pressures on the NHS are also leading to overstretched adult social care staff providing support that used to be provided by the health service. Seven in ten social care directors say that their staff are increasingly undertaking tasks that were previously delivered by the NHS but without it being funded[iv]. Not only does this add to councils’ financial pressures, it reduces the time that frontline social care staff have to meet people’s essential social care needs and means that some people are being charged for care that would have previously been free at the point of delivery because it was provided by the NHS.
Social care leaders identified sheltered and extra care housing as a key solution to provide regular support and stop problems escalating, supporting people at home and out of hospital. Almost all directors agreed that specialist accommodation designed for people with dementia in their local areas would make a difference. They also are calling for new homes to be built to accessibility standards which allow for wheelchairs, ramps and stairlifts as people’s needs change[v].