According to a new survey conducted by Younifi, personal choice and control are vital to successful adult social care services but are currently placing high burdens on both care recipients and local authorities.
The survey, which canvassed the views of hundreds of people receiving care in the UK and family carers, indicates that many want to retain control and independence in their care choices, with 51% of respondents saying they would prefer to organise it themselves and 60% relying on a close family member or friend to manage care on their behalf.
Additionally 80% of respondents say their biggest priority is to stay in their own home, suggesting that local authorities need to be able to offer broader care alternatives. There was a strong feeling that not only did people want flexibility with regard to their choice of care but also flexibility around how they want to manage it.
The survey also found that 63% said the method by which they receive council funding was through regular payments into a nominated bank account, where the individual is responsible for paying for the care that they choose. This highlights some of the complexities of managing the financial aspects of adult social care.
This financial complexity and lack of transparency is making it harder for local authorities to keep track of what care an individual has received and whether they are getting the best value from their budget. It suggests that many could in fact benefit from finding cheaper care alternatives, which would prevent recipients dipping into personal funds unnecessarily and help the local authorities ensure more value for money.
The recent Let’s Get Personal report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services highlights that individuals should be in charge of their own care and support as well as having control over the key decisions that affect their everyday lives. This is supported by the Personalised Health and Care 2020 NHS England June 2015 report, which states that digital technologies can transform the ways in which patients can take control of their health and wellbeing.
Younifi, which conducted the research, launched earlier this month as a service for local authorities’ to radically simplify the management of adult social care provision. Younifi is a new way to address key issues of choice and control while achieving value for money and avoiding financial complexities. By providing individuals with meaningful information and advice along with access to a wider range of promoted alternative care products, Younifi can give councils and people more options around control but also provide valuable oversight of how personal care monies are being spent.
Tony Pilkington, managing director, Younifi comments: “We’re seeing more people wanting an array of options and flexibility in how they choose to manage the care they receive. The care system therefore needs to be able to evolve with the times and provide people with the range of information, advice, products and services they want. The survey recipients told us that they want a stress free and simple process for managing their care, and councils need to have visibility of all care spending however funded, allowing them more control of the whole process. Change in adult social care is needed that directly supports the government’s future vision for a modern care system in the UK, and ensures local authorities deliver against the growing requirements of the Care Act, for both today and in the future.”