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  • A moment to reflect: What next for care?

    When we (the Care Home Management magazine team) first started planning our 100th issue last year, I was keen to include a ‘Happy Birthday’ message to those residents who were also celebrating their 100th. I was very pleasantly surprised to see how many there are!

    One of the good things about publishing a 100th issue, is that it is an opportunity to reflect on the past 30 years of Care Home Management magazine, even if this has involved some dusty hand searches through our pre-digital archives. My most significant take-away from this exercise is that the look and feel of the magazine have undergone changes that reflect the transformation we have seen in care over this time. In the issue, we also asked care leaders from all GB home countries to provide some insight into the changes they have seen in care over this time.

    Local differences aside, the message is clear that care homes of the 2020s are light years away from their 1970s, 80s and 90s counterparts in terms of the care and services they offer. By the avalanche of birthday stories that we received as part of this issue, I think it is fair to conclude that care homes must be doing something right.

    No wonder King Charles has had to pause the sending of the 100th birthday messages!

    So, what of the next 30 years for care?

    While so many things have changed in care over the past 30 years, there are some uncomfortable constants, standing out among which are insufficient funding and workforce challenges. The messaging from care leaders from the 1980s seems sadly familiar today, and it seems that the current response from the Government is simply to ‘fiddle while Rome burns’. I hesitate to name and shame the current perpetrators because on recent past performance they may not be in post by the time you read this… however, one thing remains clear: that social care is far from “fixed” – and it really needs to be.

    All health and social care organisations suffer from the same problems – not enough staff, not enough money in the kitty to recruit or retain them, more demands on the system. Whether you are a GP, postman, railway worker, barrister or care home worker, the costs of war, the Pandemic and Brexit loom ominously in our financial forecasting. For those involved in health and care, ONS predictions of a spike in the number of 83-year-olds by mid-2030[1] will do little to sprinkle hope of relief onto the mix.

    The latest incarnation of the NHS in England, Integrated Care Systems, offers an ‘official’ prospect of greater integration of health and social care, and the optimists among you will see great opportunities for more seamless, equitable care pathways. However, the devil is always in the detail, and for me, the devils will be how fairly money is distributed between the two sectors, and how much airspace social care is given. My experience is that the NHS has always excelled at silo working and financing, so it will take a hefty sweep of the new brooms at the Integrated Care Boards to change that particular state of affairs.

    Do check out our 100th issue online at Back Issues | Care Home Management | Nursing Home News (chmonline.co.uk)

    Main Image: Olga Brown, resident at Kenton Hall, Tyne & Wear, celebrated two 100th birthdays in 2022, due to her father incorrectly registering her birthday 100 years ago. She celebrates her ‘real’ birthday on September 21 – but her birth certificate says September 20. Olga celebrated her double centenary with family, including some who travelled from Canada, and enjoyed two sets of balloons and twice as many birthday treats. 

    [1] Office for National Statistics. National population projections [online] at:  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/bulletins/nationalpopulationprojections/2020basedinterim#changing-age-structure


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