Lancet study says 71,000 care home places needed in the next eight years
An analysis of care needs in 2011 compared to 1991, published in The Lancet, suggests that the ageing population combined with greater levels of dependency means that, at current levels of provision, there will be a shortfall of more than71,000 care home places by 2025.
The study compares levels of dependency in adults aged 65 years and over in England in 1991 and 2011 – 15000 adults in total, who 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.
Professor Carol Jagger, lead author from Newcastle University, said the past 20 years had seen continued gains in life expectancy, but not all of these years were healthy years.
“Our study suggests that older people today are spending more of their remaining life with care needs,” said Prof. Jagger.
“Though most of the extra years are spent with low dependency – including help with activities such as washing, shopping or doing household tasks – older men and women are spending around one year more requiring 24-hour care. This finding, along with the increasing number of older adults with higher rates of illness and disability, is contributing the current social care crisis.
“We estimate that by 2025, there will be an additional 353,000 older people with complex care needs that require sustained input from family carers or community health and social care teams to support independent living. While many of these people will live in the community, at current rates of provision, this will mean a shortfall of over 71,000 care home places by 2025.”
Writing in a linked comment, Sir Andrew Dilnot, University of Oxford, and author of the Dilnot report on social care funding, said expenditure on the care of older people would need to increase substantially and quickly.
“It will be important to ensure that this expenditure is managed efficiently, and in particular that the boundary between health care and social care is well handled,” said Sir Andrew.
“In England, for example, there is substantial difficulty in so-called delayed discharges, where patients remain in (more expensive) hospital care, despite being fit to leave, because it has not been possible to arrange social care for them, which is less expensive and also more appropriate.
“Although the overall amount of care needed will increase substantially, this increase does not mean that every individual will need large amounts of care. On average, as Kingston and colleagues showed in their study, high dependency will last for only about a year. But for a minority it will last for much longer, and the fear of that is a powerful one.”
- To read the full Lancet report, go to: www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31575-1/fulltext?elsca1=tlpr