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Community enterprises working together to tackle homecare challenges

Community Catalysts paper detailing the issues and showing how community enterprises can be supported to work at scale to tackle them

The homecare market is widely reported as in collapse. The Red Cross has called it a humanitarian crisis while the Chief Nursing Officer has said that the main health priority in 2017 is to ensure a thriving homecare market.

The endemic problems of low pay and variable quality are well known, but underlying these are more fundamental issues. Large scale homecare provision does not create economies of scale, but insoluble logistical challenges, resulting in rushed visits and stressed workers. Homecare can only be successful when it attracts and retains compassionate, skilled staff, but current industry models are unable to build in the time or consistency for dignity, warmth and companionship. This results in large but often ignored costs to the industry in managing staff performance, sickness and turnover. Older and disabled people may get the physical care they need but inconsistency and lack of time makes it impossible for staff to address any wider issue impacting on the person’s health and independence, such as loneliness.