Lancet study calls for an extra 71,000 care home places

A report in the Lancet that says an extra 71,000 care home places will be needed by 2025 has been given a warm welcome by industry figures.

The study compares levels of dependency in adults aged 65 years and over in England in 1991 and 2011 – 15000 adults in total. Adults were classed as high dependency if they required 24 hour care, medium dependency if they required care at regular times each day, low dependency if they required care less than daily, or independent.

Healthwatch, who last week brought out their own report about life in care homes, said the figures came as no shock but paint a picture of the stark reality social care faces.

Neil Tester, deputy director of Healthwatch England, said: “We know from what people tell us every day that the care sector is already in a fragile state, and it is clear these daunting challenges aren’t going away. As a country we have some really big questions to face about how we plan and fund care.

“But finding solutions to the lack of space, appropriate care, and the best use of resources, requires far more than simply increasing the number of care home places. To deliver the right sort of care we must listen carefully to people living in care homes right now as well as the rest of us who may need care in the future.  

Janet Morrison

Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “This report is further evidence, if it were needed, that the government must act urgently to put in place a sustainable social care system that is able to meet the demands of an ageing population.

“Creating over 70,000 new care home places seems to a tall order for a care sector commonly recognised to be in crisis. Given the government committed to a Green Paper back at the Budget in March, and reports like these highlight how acute the pressures in social care have now become, older people and their families really can’t wait much longer to see a long-term solution to the crisis in adult social care.”

Rob Burley, director of policy at Alzheimer’s Society said: “By 2025 there will be more than one million people living with dementia. They are the biggest users of the social care system and need a high level of support as the condition progresses.

“Yet we hear daily about how the system is unable to meet the needs of people with dementia – from being turned down by a care home, to facing extortionate costs for inadequate care. A social care system that is unable to fully meet the needs of people with dementia also places strain on the wider health system, with things such as delayed discharges from hospitals creating costs for the NHS as well as being detrimental to the health of a person with dementia.

“The Government and sector as a whole must act now to ensure we have future-proof plans to accommodate the enormous rise in demand. A new approach that recognises the needs of people with dementia is desperately needed.”

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