Extracare – the next best solution?
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
Academics at Newcastle University say that an average of almost nine thousand more care home beds will be needed each year for the next eight years to meet the growing need consequent to us all living longer.
If they’re right we have a problem as for the past few years there have been fewer care home beds as closures have outpaced new care homes coming on stream.
No problem of course for the flourishing self-pay market in the south but it very much looks as though care homes are going to be increasingly out of reach for frail elderly people living in the north of the UK.
I don’t see the Government taking the sort of radical action needed to address the problem (relieving local authorities of their social care funding responsibilities and replacing the present unwieldy, costly and inefficient system with a national funding structure) so assisted living or extracare looks like becoming a growth area over the coming decade.
With much less of a regulatory burden, as only the homecare element is subject to CQC scrutiny, assisted living providers can adopt a much more ‘horses for courses’ approach, with more flexibility in regards to physical environment and conversion options as against new build.
Without question the care will not be to the same standard as that provided in a care home, but for many it will be a better, and more cost-effective, option than an inadequate homecare package which provides the only social contact for people who are otherwise confined within their own homes. There is also, of course, an opportunity for the homecare offering to be developed and enriched to provide something more than the basics.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.