Over the last five years elderly people’s care homes have been closing at the rate of nearly one a week. A report by accountancy firm Moore Stephens has highlighted the number of nursing homes shutting down in England and Wales – from 35 closures in 2012/2013, up to 40 in 2014, then 47 in 2015. Up nearly twenty per cent in the last year alone!
Struggling to cope with new financial pressures
Care homes have been significantly affected by the current economic climate. This is further exacerbated by reductions in funding for social care in squeezed council budgets and larger staffing bills, due to the rise in the national living wage for employees over 25 years old. As charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, commented: “There is mounting evidence from all quarters showing that the care home sector is extremely fragile and under increasing pressure to survive.”
Unable to respond to a rapidly ageing population
This picture is only set to look increasingly bleak as current care home provision is unable to respond to the demands of our expanding elderly population. Over 11 million people in the UK are over 65 and this is expected to keep rising by a predicted further 50 per cent by 2030. However, as healthcare intelligence company LaingBuisson’s research indicated, instead of accommodating this growing need the number of beds in UK care homes fell by 3,000 in 2015.
A worrying picture for the level of care
It’s not just the ‘calamitous decline’ in numbers but the quality of care in the remaining 18,000 care homes in the UK that is also of great concern. Last year, the Care Quality Commission reported that over a third of these care homes did not meet industry standards, undoubtedly contributing to ongoing care home closures with many now no longer unable to sustain a good quality of care.
Fortunately, care homes aren’t the only caring solution
There are alternative and welcome solutions for those families and carers trying to help elderly people to stay safe and stay put in their own homes for longer without care home involvement. ARC Angel is one such solution; a monitoring and alert system fitted to the home not the person, and warns a carer of changes of routine of that person around the home, changes possibly caused by being immobilised after a fall or being stuck undetected in the bath! A wireless movement sensor in each room monitors the home; it can tell where they are and how long they have been there and whether they are in or they are out. The carer sets the alert criteria, and ARC Angel sends them a text if anything out of the ordinary occurs. It can be used on a standalone basis or as part of an individual’s care package within the home to provide round-the-clock assurance for family members.
As well as many elderly people preferring the independence and dignity of remaining in their own homes for as long as is safe and practical to do so, it’s also becoming apparent that it could be a more financially beneficial option as well. In many cases, ARC Angel costs less than one week’s stay in a care home!
Where to buy ARC Angel
ARC Angel is only available online at arc-angel.co.uk and rapid delivery to the UK mainland is free. For more advice and a brochure, call our UK-based Care Line on 01245 860252 9am-5pm Mon-Fri. There is a reduced price if the person you are caring for is eligible for VAT relief.