Research Design Service: East Midlands
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Podcast about social care research

  Created on Tuesday, 15 Jan 2019. Posted in Social Care

Dr Mike Clark, Director of School for Social Care Research talks about social care research and what NIHR is doing to support and improve the evidence base in this crucial area of research. Listen to the podcast

Social care covers accepted models of care that help people live in a dignified way and as independently as possible.

We are moving away from set models of care and towards a more person centred service. This is where adults are assigned a budget for their care, and are supported to organise how it is delivered to suit their needs. Financially social care isn't free at point of contact but instead is means and needs tested. The backbone of delivery still rests heavily with the free support from family and friends, which equates to a value of between 55bn and 100bn per year.

Funding: Research funding into social care falls currently far behind health research but this is starting to change. The school for Social Care Research is currently the main funder of social care research but other NIHR funding streams are gradually including social care into their remit. Unfortunately there are no large charities focused directly on social care, but it might be possible to lobby disease based charities to include a social care element to their research.

Organisation: Social care is organised by local authorities who manage the local market for delivery ie procuring private company services and charities to provide the care. Given the number of local authorities across England that means that there is a very diverse range of systems are in place, making it difficult to generalise any findings. Within the UK there are large differences in the linkup between health and social care with both Wales and Scotland having a more integrated approach to the rest of England.

Data: There hasn't been a general investment in routine data collection within adult social care and as a consequence it limits what kind of research you can do.

Challenges: The issues social care faces across developed countries however remains broadly the same

  • Demographic changes
  • People living longer
  • More people with more complex conditions needing care and support later in life
  • Younger adults with profound disabilities living longer into adulthood as a result of improved health care

Interesting growth area: technology