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Friday, 23 June 2017

Webwatch: Getting Informed - Navigating the self-funded social care system

Written by The Editorial Team

New support tools to help the general public find out about social care options for older people have been launched this week.

A new leaflet, short film and website – www.gettinginformed.net – will provide much-needed information for people looking for social care options, particularly those who are ‘self-funders’.

The resources are developed by researchers at the University of York and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research.

Self-funded care

Self-funders – people who use their own funds to pay for social care because they are not eligible for local council help – are estimated to account for around 40 per cent of people living in care homes.

Around 20 – 25 per cent of care provided to people in their own homes, which may include help with everyday activities such as getting washed and dressed, is provided to self-funders.

From April 2015, local councils have had to ensure their resident populations, including self-funders, are provided with information and advice about social care. However, councils can vary in the level and timeliness of help offered.

Daunting prospect

Self-funders are often daunted and face frustration when seeking advice, finding the process of gathering information about different care options and providers time-consuming and stressful.

To help address this problem, researchers from the University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) interviewed 40 self-funders and their relatives, along with 25 practitioners including social workers, GPs, voluntary organisation advisors and senior council managers to find out about needs, experiences and attitudes towards seeking advice.

New resources

Findings from this study were used to create a new set of resources designed to make the process of finding information about social care easier for self-funders, families and practitioners.

Dr Kate Baxter, Research Fellow at SPRU and lead author of the project, said: “This research shows that self-funders and their relatives often feel lost and confused when searching for information about social care and support. The experience can be frustrating due to long waits, repetitive processes and the desire for personalised information that takes account of finances and care needs.

“Raising the level of awareness and understanding of adult social care is a long-term challenge and priority for all local councils, in terms of making it clear what they can offer to people not eligible for financial support.

“The new information leaflet, website and film are the result of many interviews and workshops with self-funders, their relatives and practitioners. Previously, there has been little research into the experiences of self-funders, and how local councils and others could be supported in giving advice to them. We hope these new resources will help make the first steps in finding care and support for older people a little easier and less daunting.” 

Further information

  • To read the ‘Getting informed, getting prepared: first steps to finding care and support for older people’ leaflet, and to watch the ‘Finding care and support for older people’ video, visit: www.gettinginformed.net
  • The research and resulting resources were funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR).
    For more information, visit: https://www.sscr.nihr.ac.uk/