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Urgent mental health needs fuel demand for council-funded care home beds

Urgent mental health needs are one reason behind increasing demand for publicly-funded care home beds, a think-tank has concluded.

A report by the Nuffield Trust The decline of publicly funded social care for older adults finds that people are presenting to councils with more severe and urgent needs relating additionally to safeguarding concerns, breakdown in unpaid care arrangements, and challenges facing the NHS. Increased complexity of need is also fuelling an increase in the size of care packages.

The article notes there is a significant waiting list in social care: in August 2022 around one in three adults waited over six months for their care package. Reasons for the pent-up demand include a decline in social care activity during the pandemic, delayed assessments, lack of beds and  declining mental capacity in older people.

The Nuffield Trust goes on to describe the system for self-funders as daunting and complicated, and characterised by the cross subsidy of reduced local-authority fees. The ONS estimates that in 2021/22, 39 per cent of care home residents in England were self-funding. 

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