Our new report A Cry for Hope: why 2021 must be the year for social care reform based on a survey of over 4,000 people who need social care is published today. The report reveals that because of a lack of care 1 in 7 (14%) said they needed hospital treatment, and more than a quarter (28%) said their health had deteriorated.
The situation was worse for carers where 2 in 5 (41%) said their health had deteriorated because of their caring responsibilities.
The revealing statistics show how a lack of social care can dangerously impact people’s health and, potentially, overstretched hospitals. Further statistics reveal that nearly 1 in 4 said they had asked for help during the pandemic but didn’t receive any.
The survey of 4,005 people also revealed, because of a lack of care:
- Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) missed medical appointments
- More than 1 in 10 (12%) have been unable to get food or shopping
- More than 1 in 3 (32%) have felt lonely
- More than 1 in 10 (11%) have been unable to work
A further 1 in 10 said they were often worried about how to cope and stay safe and
3 in 10 (31%) of those who had difficulties doing day to day activities said they never got any help or assistance.
The Alliance is calling on the Prime Ministers to treat social care with the same parity of esteem as the NHS and to fulfil his promise to fix social care by urgently bringing forward reforms and increasing funding so people can get the care they need.
The survey results are published in a new report ‘A Cry for Hope: why 2021 must be the year for social care reform’. Alliance Chairs who are also senior charity leaders: Caroline Abrahams at Age UK; Emily Holzhausen at Carers UK; and Jackie O’Sullivan at Mencap have reflected on the experiences of the different groups they represent: older people, working age disabled adults and unpaid carer, all of whom have been hit hard by the pandemic:
Caroline Abrahams, Co-chair of the CSA and Charity Director of Age UK, said: “Our threadbare social care service was already unable to help a large portion of those who needed care before the pandemic, now its fragility is adding unnecessary pressure on hospitals just when we are all making huge sacrifices in order to protect the NHS. We know unpaid carers and care staff are doing all they can but there simply isn’t the money to give people the care they need.
“Good quality care and support results in healthier people, and whilst that might mean greater investment in social care, it has the potential to save NHS resources. More importantly, it is the right thing to do. These two important issues are interdependent and need to be treated equally so people can get the care they need.”
Sue Gallagher, 77, whose husband didn’t receive the care he needed and ended up being sectioned in hospital for 11 weeks, said:
“The lack of adequate social care support before the pandemic started was a real issue and because of a lack of care during the pandemic he spent much more time in hospital than should have been necessary. Families like mine continue to find things difficult. I’m worried about the lack of support for people’s conditions, as well as for their loved ones at home.”
Sue and Bernard’s story: At the end of 2019 Bernard Gallagher, aged 84 from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. His wife Sue, aged 77, was looking after him at home but needed some respite care. Bernard went to stay in a care home, but it was unsuitable, he ran away and after two days Sue had to bring him back home. Despite struggling to cope, over five months she received no help of social care. Sue asked for him to be assessed by their local doctor but was told they had sicker patients to look after.
From this point, Sue received no social care support at home, support that she believes could have helped them both and ultimately could have prevented Bernard from being sectioned for 11 weeks in hospital during the first lockdown in April, after he was eventually assessed by a new practice.
When asked ‘What does good care mean to you?’, people said:
“Better support for the person I care for would reduce my care and support needs, giving both of us better quality of life.”
“Having control over my life.”
You can download a full copy of the report here.