James Evison 27 March 2017

Social care demand strategies criticised

Poor support and rapid hospital discharge processes for adult social care could be costing councils more in the long-term, according to a new report by the Institute of Public Care (IPC).

The study, called Six steps to managing demand in adult social care and written by professor John Bolton and assistant IPC director Philip Provenzano, identified six steps that local authorities could use to deliver better, target-led outcomes.

It said ‘poorly-designed support planning’ and rapidly discharging patients from hospitals ‘could be costing councils more as the level of need may be greater at this point’.

The report suggested social care services should be provided at the point of discharge from hospital to ensure the correct service and support was being allocated to the person.

It called for a more positive approach to health assessment, focusing on what people could do rather than what they were unable to do.

The report read: ‘Councils rarely have a clear strategy on managing demand for social care services and, where they do, often fail to properly analyse data to understand the impact of that strategy.

‘Professionals from health and social care working together to assess needs and identify the right services can deliver the best outcomes for individuals.

'The primary aim should always be to help a person to return home.’

The report also claimed public enquires about social care should be effectively managed at the ‘front door’ through phone, website and third party services to ensure the correct routes were taken.

It continued: ‘Councils must be equipped to respond to this range of contacts to effectively manage demand for adult social care.

‘The report identifies how some councils are able to resolve or signpost as much as 75% of social care enquiries at this first contact stage.’

Funding pressures have also impacted training and development of staff, according to the report.

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