The NHS has strongly expressed that health services should focus on prevention, and act proactively rather than reactively. The Five Year Forward View stressed the importance of health and social care working together. However, the social care sector has been the slowest in implementing a change from reactive to proactive care.
Why is the system broken?
Most home care agencies focus on supporting elderly people in managing and coping with their health conditions, rather than preventing them, to begin with. This approach is costing service users their health, and it is costing the NHS a lot of money. According to NHS Digital, over 20% of hospital admissions are avoidable, meaning they are costing the NHS money unnecessarily, whilst also having a detrimental effect on the care of those who really need it.
Looking closely at the social care system, it’s clear why such a high number of avoidable hospital admissions remain. Firstly, vast numbers of care professionals are not trained properly to notice subtle changes in their client’s condition, usually the first sign that their health is deteriorating. Some care agencies have a poor vetting process, hiring whoever they can, and others do not support their staff at all once they have been assigned a client.
Furthermore, relatives of elderly people are often not kept updated on the care their loved ones receive, making it incredibly difficult for them to know when their loved one’s health is deteriorating and to take proactive steps to seek help. Similarly, service users’ care reports often never reach their GPs or other healthcare professionals—this is detrimental to the prevention and treatment of their conditions. The sharing of patients’ care reports would allow for a far more seamless, uninterrupted and most crucially—successful—form of care.
Elderly people, especially when they are ill, struggle to leave their homes to go to a pharmacy and therefore often rely on others to bring them medication or take them to visit a GP. Minor ailments can often have a serious effect on their quality of life, as they do not get the help they need on time.
How can care providers fix this?
Your home care agency should be able to provide comprehensive, transparent and personalised care. Home care is changing, and traditional care agencies are being left behind due to an unwillingness to implement technological advances within their company systems. Care at home should go beyond merely personal assistance or medication administration—a home care agency should provide advanced services such as on-demand GP visits, transportation, and food delivery. All of these services combined vastly improve the overall quality of care offered to a service user and empower them to take a proactive approach to their well-being.
Home care service users should be given control regarding decision-making for their own care and their relatives kept up to date at all times. One way of enabling this is to allow them to view care reports wherever they are and whenever they want. At Cera, relatives of the person receiving care – with the service user’s consent – will be given access to their care reports, so that they can monitor their loved one’s care. Access to these reports also encourages patients themselves to monitor and better look after their own well-being. Seeing how your health changes via data can positively impact your future lifestyle choices significantly.
Cera are currently developing a tool to help our Professional Carers focus on a proactive approach to care. Based on the care reports that professional carers and nurses have written up, the system will be able to flag up any health concerns in advance. This will allow Professional Carers, clients, and their relatives to take action when a concern is raised in a proactive way rather than in reaction to a problem that has already set in.
To discuss how Cera can support you or your loved one in living a happier and healthier life, please call us on 020 3034 4780 or visit our website at ceracare.co.uk.