Health and social care involves caring for individuals who need specialised assistance. This could be due to their age, a disability or illness.
There are a range of different ways to provide health and social care. These include residential care, home support and daycare. These are provided either by public bodies (e.g. local councils) or privately by individuals who have funds available to them.
Working in the field of health and social care is a highly rewarding career. Employees often feel a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in supporting a diverse range of individuals through challenging circumstances, helping them maintain a positive quality of life.
Local councils are responsible for publicly funded social care services, which can range from a little help with day-to-day tasks through to longer term support or residential care. Often these services are delivered through a network of community organisations, mutually owned societies and a large range of private providers.
A wide variety of professional stakeholders and patient representatives across several states shared a strong optimism that increasing integration of health and social care would eventually yield substantial benefits for patients. However, they also identified major barriers to progress and recommended that formal evaluation of integrated care arrangements be improved. This was particularly important for assessing whether these arrangements actually provide benefits for patients and users of services.
The law on eligibility varies depending on whether you live in England or Wales. In England, you’re considered eligible for care and support if you’re unable to achieve at least two outcomes that are significant for your wellbeing. You don’t need a specific diagnosis to qualify for this kind of support.
Your local authority must assess you to decide whether you meet the eligibility criteria. They’ll look at what you’re unable to do and how your health needs affect your day-to-day life. The assessment must also take into account your wishes and concerns. The assessment should also establish whether you’re ordinarily resident in the area.
Despite the many benefits of social care integration, there are challenges. For example, state Medicaid programs are experimenting with different covered service definitions and accountable care organizations are paying providers to collaborate on community-based activities. But these initiatives may not deliver the expected results if the collaborations don’t focus on outcomes that matter to people and their communities.
Care planning is a managerial function that allows for consistency across multiple members of the health and social care team, as well as personalised care. It also allows for a clear understanding of the risks associated with an individual, so they can be properly and consistently managed.
It’s important for care professionals to have the relevant clinical and technical knowledge necessary to carry out a high quality assessment and care plan. This includes keeping up-to-date with the latest research and evidence in their field of practice.
Many governments are attempting to integrate health and social care pathways at the operational level. These initiatives range from screening patients for social needs and referring them to community services to integrating social-care functions into healthcare clinics and food banks. These efforts require valid measures of social risk, collaboration among frontline staff, and flexibility from national policymakers to align goals and funding. Moreover, they must invest in key enablers like education and technology.
Health and social care services help individuals with non-medical healthcare problems. This includes providing information and advice, assessing care needs, arranging short-term support or reablement, safeguarding vulnerable individuals, and commissioning a range of care services. It also provides a wide range of other community interventions and activities.
Payers and providers have a role to play in integrated health and social care, but governments bear the largest responsibility. They must allocate funding to both health and social care and provide incentives for partnership. They should also create a common framework for data and performance measurement across health and social care agencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of a new administration have created an opportunity to implement comprehensive integration initiatives. The new administration can build on past efforts by developing a bold national strategy around data infrastructure, workforce development, financing, and service delivery. They can also focus on the underlying social drivers of health that are not currently being addressed by healthcare systems.