Thinking about a National Care (Home) Service

The Residential Forum at the recent AGM took the opportunity to refresh itself on some of the issues around the ideas of a national approach to social care and what this may mean for care homes. It has been the topic of debate at Forum workshops in the past and members are keen that their ‘positive choice’ ethos and message is carried into the future.

Things we know to be true

Forum members consider their role is to exchange ideas and thereby assist shape policy, procedure and practice around care homes and all forms of supported and group living for all age groups across the UK. As such the 2020 Forum AGM ended with members resolving to publicise what they know to be true to further debate. At the centre of that debate, in all the nations of the UK, is a growing discussion about a National Care Service. (or Social Care or Care Home Service)

Forum member, Des Kelly, has already put pen to paper in a blog on the topic of Things We Know to be True Knowing further ideas are in the pipeline, as Web Custodian, I decided to search the writings of Forum member Clive Bowman on the pages of the British Medical Journal as preparation. The 61 hits on BMJ are worth a read….a 2017 entry, Formative care is needed for “progressive dwindling” has language that grates but does reveal Formative care is the elephant in the room marked sustainability and resilience, and so far there has not been any sign of developing a coherent policy.

The medical model of diagnosis and treatment in its simplest form is wanting for those who are progressively dwindling, as are the promoting independence model of social care and the ministrations of palliative care for people who are not actively dying but are on a glide path of increasing need. Talk and initiatives of joint working and integration, all well intentioned, simply are not enough.

Clive Bowman and others in the Forum have long been making the case that to optimise life quality for people you must start by defining need and purpose. Moving to a care home, as a significant transition, presents an opportunity for people to enjoy a formative and good life with purpose in advance of any palliative or end-of-life needs. A purposeful person does not define themselves by their health or dependency status alone but through a rounded consideration of what they would like to achieve and what they want to do.

Bowman says a unique UK formative model, informed internationally, of accommodation with personal support and care with access to medical assistance would deliver many gains in a way that “more of the same” will not.

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