Older and disabled people isolating within their own homes for months on end has exacerbated an already prevalent issue of social isolation and feelings of enduring loneliness. Older people typically experience a shrinking of their world and support network as they age, often becoming bereaved and have little or no local support network. Added to this is declining physical and cognitive function.
Whilst there is a clear preference and many advantages to older people being supporting to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, often through the provision of care and support, there are significant challenges faced by care providers. This is a universal issue irrespective of whether they are private, public or third sector organisations. In most general terms these are two-fold: workforce shortages and financial difficulties. Low pay for what is a skilled and difficult role and squeezed profit margins, eroded by finite local authority commissioning budgets who equally struggle to balance their books. The countries changing demography, specifically the increase in the older old population is increasing demand on care and support services. Providers are under pressure to increase their capacity, but many are operating in financial deficit which places significant risk on the quality and continuity of care services. This difficult context creates an environment where immediate challenges overtake any long-term strategic sustainability planning which should be prioritised.
An idea‚’ government incentives to help create employee-owned organisations. These organisations can better incentivise high performance form their employee owners and financially reward frontline social care / health care workers whose hard work contributes to their employers quality and profitability.