Key takeaways from the government’s proposed social care reforms

17 December 2021

In November 2021, the government unveiled a new white paper – setting out a 10-year vision for adult social care, and providing information on funded proposals that will be implemented over the next three years.

We’re well aware of the challenges the sector faces: it’s hard to recruit and retain carers at a time when there is an ageing population, the cost of care can be prohibitive to people, and public funds for care have been cut — putting more pressure on both families and public services. We believe the white paper does not provide comprehensive answers to solving all of these challenges, but it does set out a vision of technology playing a vital role in the future of care.

A paper, a decade in waiting

The care sector has been waiting almost a decade for a government to issue a policy document on social care. 

It has long been argued that successive governments have avoided tackling the well-documented issues that exist today in social care and that are likely to get worse with an ageing population that has ever-increasing needs.

The new strategy was designed to transform the adult social care system in England, with new investments promised in:

  • Housing and home adaptations, including funding to increase the range of new supported housing options and an increase to the upper limit of the Disabilities Facilities Grant for home adaptations like stairlifts, wet rooms and home technologies 
  • Technology and digitisation, with £150 million pledged to drive greater adoption
  • Workforce training and wellbeing support, with a £500 million investment to ensure the social care workforce have the right training and feel valued for their skills and commitment
  • Support for unpaid carers, and improved information and advice 

Investment in technology

The government has pledged to invest at least £150 million of additional funding across the next three years to drive greater adoption of technology, and achieve widespread digitisation across social care. The intension is that, by implementing the right digital tools and technology, we can support those with care needs to live independently for longer and improve the quality of their quality of their care.

There’s never been a better time to do this. The pandemic brought a surge in technology adoption that made both care providers and those being cared for more receptive to it than ever before, and also highlighted the need for safe ways to check in on loved ones.

The paper also promoted a focus on prevention and reducing future care needs, which can be aided by technology too – specifically tools that identify risk, prevent incidents from occurring, and ensure quick responses to events like falls and urinary tract infections.

We have seen through our partners at HomeInstead and Taking Care, the impact that connected care can have on helping carers better understand what happens between visits, when the older person is on their own. Platforms like ours, that monitor for subtle changes in behaviour and are able to provide actionable insights, also help reassure families and provide them with the intelligence they need to make better care decisions with care providers. 

What’s next?

Ultimately, nothing can replace the essential role that carers play in physically being there, and helping people requiring support and care. 

But using the right technology at the right time and place can offer huge support that can make a real difference. The principle technology used by the care sector for many years has been telecare and it provides a vital lifeline to thousands of people who need help when something goes wrong in their homes. Connected care though is much more proactive and has the potential to transform a sector looking for ways to support more people earlier in their care journey.

Ultimately we believe that connected care will become a standard part of the care solution provided to everyone who needs it, ushering in a new age of prediction and prevention.

But we are only just at the start of the connected care era. What is coming next should excite everyone in care.

Fall prevention is a huge priority for both us and the caretech industry as a whole, and we’ll be working to develop existing technology solutions to provide a tool that identifies falls risks and faster and more accurate detection. 

What pleased us most about the government white paper is that the ambitions for the use of connected care are very much in line with the direction that Anthropos was already heading. Increased government funding and programmes will only support and drive our mission forwards. 

Maximising the use of technology to create intelligence that supports making better informed care decisions can lead to  better outcomes all round. When technology is embedded seamlessly and smartly into care and support services, it can be transformative – as we’ve seen many times at Anthropos – and help people to live happy, fulfilled lives. 

Find out more about Anthropos’ technology

Anthropos’ platform uses remote monitoring via discreet sensors that can build a picture of someone’s daily routine, and give care providers and loved ones a window into what happens when no one else is in the house. These insights are collated on the platform, giving an overview and the ability to spot meaningful changes that might signal a bigger problem. Essentially, it’s about preventing the preventable – through use of technology.