ARCO’S new report ‘Putting the care in Housing-with-care’ recentres the role Integrated Retirement Communities can play filling gaps in the social care sector while fostering improvements in care quality.
The report shows that with the right amount of support and backing, Integrated Retirement Communities could boost the capacity of the UK’s social care system and address shortages in the social care workforce. It highlights a lack in the provision of care across the country, particularly for lower and intermediate care needs. With this, it demonstrates that as well as boosting capacity in the social care sector, Integrated Retirement Communities can offer unique packages of care. In particular, the report highlights the many health benefits of retirement communities as on-site care means that people are less likely to need more acute health care, ultimately to the benefit of the resident, and local NHS services.
The report recommends that the Government bolsters the role of Integrated Retirement Communities within the wider social care sector, by setting a firm definition of Integrated Retirement Communities and by giving monitoring duties to local authorities to oversee the delivery of new developments. It also proposes the introduction of a cross-departmental taskforce, which can work on issues across social care and housing by cementing the position of Integrated Retirement Communities within the planning system.
At the report launch, speakers including Damian Green MP, Chair of the APPG on Longevity, Natalie Reed, interim Head of Inspection at CQC and Simon Bottery from the King’s Fund highlighted the current challenges in the social care and housing sectors.
Damian Green MP highlighted that people living in retirement communities are less likely to experience ill health or digression in health. He also spoke about the need for a long-term perspective on the social care sector and said that the upcoming White Paper on social care should provide policy on housing for the elderly. Natalie Reed from the CQC focussed on the high quality of care that is provided within retirement communities and suggested that the care model allows people to live fulfilling and happy lives. Simon Bottery from the King’s Fund also highlighted the evidence around the quality of care in retirement communities and said that people living in them are less likely to experience loneliness or depression. Moreover, Joanna Grainger, Executive Director of Operations at ExtraCare, highlighted that with onsite care, retirement communities’ staff can provide personalised and flexible care.
The Government has already set forward indications of how the social care sector will be funded with the announcement of the Health and Care Levy in September. As the sector eagerly awaits the contents of the White Paper, which has promised to be published by the end of the year, reports such as this will be valuable to policymakers so that the new reforms ensure long term quality of care across the sector.