Mind the Care Gap: Building a care force ready to meet demand

15th January 2018 about a 3 minute read

Carers across the country face the very real challenges as a result of our ageing population. This week, Mind the Care Gap aims to highlight some of the main issues they face.

Social care providers are struggling to recruit and retain people in sufficient numbers to meet growing demand for services. Future Care Capital believes that there needs to be a clear career pathway for carers to address this problem head-on. If we act now to address some of the key workforce issues facing the sector, we will have taken an important step towards laying solid foundations for a more sustainable social care system in future, although the challenges we face are not limited to paid carers.

On any given day, 6,000 people assume a caring role – this week alone will see another 42,000 people become carers, which equates to more than 2 million people per annum taking responsibility for the care of a friend or family member [1]. When someone becomes a carer, it is usually unexpected, and they are often ill-prepared. Indeed, it is very common for those with caring responsibilities to neglect their own needs whilst they prioritise caring for someone else.

As part of the Mind the Care Gap campaign, Future Care Capital has drawn upon the views of frontline health and care professionals, as well as learning from the experiences of older people providing or in need of care. This is what they had to say about workforce and caring responsibilities:

One adult social care worker discussed funding challenges and how that impacts individuals waiting for care support:

“It’s down to funding of services, not necessarily bureaucracy, you want to see the individual, and provide a service and you know that needs to be actioned fairly quickly, it’s for the prevention of deteriorating conditions and hospital admissions, but unless you’ve got the resources there then that can have a big impact on the length of time waiting.”

An unpaid carer, who is an 81-year-old looking after her 90-year-old husband with partial sight, hearing and early stage dementia, said:

“Support services don’t support my needs directly, but they do indirectly by helping my husband when they support him, talk to him, reassure him, he feels better. That in turn takes the pressure off him and makes me feel like things will be ok.”

Dr Adam, a GP in Leicester, discussed the importance of health and care professionals being allowed more time to learn:

“There also needs to be more work on education to release staff from their day job to help further educate someone, if you do that, they are more likely to stay in that job. That’s a good investment, but if you cannot get staff out of the day job to educate them, things like backfill, so covering peoples’ time so they can go and learn is also needed for care home staff too.”