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What price care?

We read that the government has reviewed the actual cost – fair price – which is needed to provide appropriate care for residents of care homes – given their characteristics and needs. The estimate is the current spending falls short by 20% of more: Shortfall of £2.3bn a year in England’s care homes ‘putting people at risk’ | Social care | The Guardian

As I understand it, the methodology of this study was to ask local authorities how much they are currently paying and how much they believe would be a fair price. There is every chance that the quote of actual payments is correct, but what of the estimate of a fair price?

Surely we need an objective measure of needs amongst residents and a match to this of the nature and quality care which should be provided. This must include an appreciation of the characteristics of people who will deliver the care – their personal attributes and training and the system of management and ongoing support which will make the best of their potential. And the level of pay made available should reflect the responsibility which goes with this skilled care role.

Am I being too simple?

The shortfall is huge – certainly more than the 20% quoted. But we have to start from where we are.

One of the highlights of the week for me was a zoom meeting- zoom because the care home we were planning to help, has covid again.

This was not a disaster – we had a way to meet and we planned for a near future when we can do something despite an awareness of covid.

The care home has done well with the basics through the pandemic and the lock downs, but support from local churches had been cut off and not been reconstructed.

People, including the chaplain, have been ill, some have died, and others are less able than they were. The rota of pianists is down to zero, the piano has not been tuned.

But we found a way which will involve a wider group of people who can lead services, and we will integrate what the churches can contribute with the work of the chaplain – and the staff of the home. Timings have been revised – early afternoon is seen to be better for staff and residents than the previous pattern of evening sessions.

There is more that church communities can do – four local churches all have some version of a craft group so may produce gifts which would be welcomed – but there is also the possibility of letters and eventually visits, especially to residents who have few visits from anyone else. There is a ripple of optimism all round.

The home will share its newsletters with the churches and the churches will send their weekly notices.

There is an inescapable rationale for improved funding of care of every sort, including residential care. This has been neglected and avoided for too long.

Meanwhile – we will do what we can to add more fellowship and humanity ensuring that a home is part of the wider world.

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