The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in its latest report has observed that home-based care can reduce pressure on public services, but more investments and greater coordination between government departments are required.
The latest 42 page report by the think-tank follows on the heels of Dilnot Commission’s report, which had suggested better ways to fund long-term care.
The present state of home-based care and how they can better streamlined to save cost and reduce pressure on public services, such as care homes and hospitals, was examined by the author of the report Laura Bradley, a researcher at IPPR.
Ms Bradley argued that home based care ensured older people stayed at home for longer durations, thus significantly improving their quality of lives.
She was quick to acknowledge however, that despite the advantages of home-based care for elders in the London area, “a number of problems continue to plague its provision”, including a projected budget shortfall of £1.2 billion by 2015.
“Most significant is a lack of investment in the system. The rising number of older people drawing on care has not been matched with adequate funding, either through public or private contributions. Other problems also prevent home-based care from delivering on its potential, including low productivity, poor integration with health services, and a very fragmented market. To bridge the gap between health and social care in a comprehensive way, a greater proportion of the NHS budget should be dedicated to preventative social care”, observed Ms Bradley.
The IPPR had previously said, after the publication of the Fairer Care Funding report by Dilnot Commission, that the question now is if the government is willing to commit billions of pounds to fund the reforms suggested in the Funding of Care and Support report, since this would result in spending cuts in other areas and the reduce the scope for lower taxes.
“It is largely a subsidy from the general taxpayer to the elderly, but it is surely a price worth paying for achieving a solution to the social care funding crisis. The cost won’t disappear if the government doesn’t act”, a spokesman of IPPR had said.
The IPPR observed that for people with assets below £100,000, there will be no incentive to save unless they want better care than what state-funded facilities provide.
However, local authorities already encourage home-based care since they it is significantly cheaper than residential care, said Brian Tabor, director of CareMatters.
“One thing the Dilnot report will lead to is a partnership with insurance providers to come up with pre-funding schemes that actually work,” said Tabor.