The current social care crisis has again hit the headlines, this time by shocking data released by the NHS that that 32,115 sick and vulnerable adults died while awaiting social care in 2017/18. This equates to nearly 90 people a day dying before they could get the care they needed.
According to an article published by The Sunday Times in December, a high proportion of these people are likely to have had serious illnesses or conditions, including terminal cancer and dementia, which left them housebound and dependent on help with tasks such as eating, getting dressed, washing and taking medication. As a company dedicated to supporting elderly people to live fulfilling, safe and healthy lives at home, we find the number of people missing out on this potentially life-saving social care particularly distressing.
These upsetting figures show the reality of the shortfall in social care for the elderly and vulnerable. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, commented: “It’s very sad that so many older people died before they received the social care they had asked for and it makes you wonder what their quality of life was like as they approached the end of their lives.”
Research has also revealed that sick and elderly people confined in hospital wards due to absence of social care at home cost the NHS a jaw-dropping £289,140,954 a year, equivalent to £550 a minute. But despite this soaring demand, the number of care home beds has dropped by 8,000 over the past three years, and the number of pensioners receiving social care fell by more than 18 per cent in the past three years.
The recent figures come as a parliamentary discussion paper outlining long-term care system reform continues to be postponed. However, it is clear that the social care crisis is continuing to escalate and it is time to act.