Have day centres had their day?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
I think it’s generally agreed that social care is in a state of flux, and it’s not all because of inadequate public funding. Changing expectations, professionalisation of the workforce, the nurse shortage and more thoughtful design and configuration of physical environments are some of the other major influences which challenge traditional models of care delivery.
We are witnessing the evolution of many species of retirement-with-care schemes and homecare is freshening-up its offering now that operators are increasingly putting themselves at arm’s length from the pittance-paid provision commissioned by local authorities.
But we don’t hear much about day centres. We know they have been closed left, right and centre by local authorities in response to the austerity agenda, and that some forward thinking care home providers have them as a bolt-on to care homes in an enlightened endeavour to engage with local communities, but it’s hardly a growth area.
Day centres are problematic for the private provider. Unlike a care home placement, day care is often a discretionary purchase and in today’s western world, the sense of community is often lacking, and we all know of elderly people who resolutely refuse to go to a day centre “because they are full of old people”. Perhaps this model of provision is best delivered by local social enterprises but I think that the private sector is in danger of missing a trick if they do not include day care as part of a diversified portfolio.
But it needs to be done well. It needs to offer much more than boiled beef, bingo and Elvis impersonators.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.