Why might you need long-term residential care? Residential care is the next step if you or a loved one needs more day-to-day help than is available at home or in a supported living setting. As well as accommodation and food, residential care homes provide ‘personal care’ such as help to wash, go to the toilet, dress or eat.
Why is there a crisis in residential care? Government funding for local councils who provide social care reduced in real terms between 2010-2019. Access to funding involves stringent ‘needs assessment’ and means testing. Only 43% of those seeking support receive funding. Many rely on their family to top-up council funding or help pay private fees; others sell their homes to pay or try to cope at home.
Who provides residential care? 84% of providers are privately owned. Many are small businesses. The sector also includes large under-regulated private equity and offshore corporate chains. If profitability for investors is threatened large chains sell off or close care homes. With Covid-19, workforce shortages, and empty beds more residential care homes are at risk. We need our residential care to be ethically managed and properly funded.
Why should we be concerned about the government’s plans? Raising funding thresholds in 2023 should mean more people get some support though how much remains unclear. In addition any benefit from the £86.000 cap on lifetime spending on ‘personal care’ will depend on how individual need is quantified and costed. Accommodation and food costs will be excluded from the cap. Councils are already cash strapped. Using National Insurance Contributions to raise funds is grossly unfair because the highest earners will pay proportionately less of their income than people on ordinary incomes. Taxing income from ‘earnings’ more than from ‘wealth’ disadvantages younger and poorer workers.
The injustice. If residential care was largely invisible to most people before Covid-19, the pandemic exposed the extreme vulnerability of care home residents and plight of their underpaid and undervalued carers. How can this be acceptable?
A failed plan. The government has failed to produce a realistic plan capable of delivering the adult social care that people need without imposing enormous financial costs on them or their families. The additional taxes required to fund a fully comprehensive national care service should be borne by those who can best afford to pay.
CARE SERVICES IN CRISIS