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Change necessary to support carers and improve quality of care

by Lisa Carr

Mike Williams, Managing director at Tagtronics

Homecare is at a critical point, as minimal resources are leading to a recruitment crisis. Mike Williams, Managing Director at Tagtronics – a company innovating to improve care quality for homecare businesses – explores the modern homecare sector and discusses the internal shifts necessary to support carers and improve quality of care.

Homecare growth

Homecare saw rapid growth in the 1990s and 2000s, supported by societal trends, as people were living longer, and more women were entering the workplace – meaning elderly family members needed external care.

Since then, legislation and the establishment of regulatory bodies (eg the CQC in 2008) has continually lifted homecare standards and ensured high-quality care across the UK.

In 2022, homecare is still growing, with recent research predicting a 1.5% growth rate over the next five years. However, increased demand is seeing homecare businesses continue to be over-stretched and under-resourced. There is a huge opportunity for business growth, but to maintain quality of care during growth, the industry must first address workforce concerns.

The rising problem

Homecare is currently facing the biggest recruitment crisis in its history.

Carers are the heart of the homecare sector – but rising pressures from increased demand and staff shortages has made recruitment and retention of quality staff difficult. The turnover rate of staff in adult social care was 34.4% in 2020/21 – almost 25% higher than the national average.

Government support

The government has recognised the need to step in and support homecare. However, even with the £1.6 billion pledged per year for local councils, this isn’t enough to support the sector. Legislation creates further boundaries for carers. To ensure continuity of care, carers often work shorter hours over five days, which can make them ineligible for social welfare.

As funding trails behind homecare innovation, there’s a need for an internal shift to support teams and ensure high-quality care.

Supporting carers with internal change

  1. Improving carer experience

Carers work in homecare because they love to support those who need it most. However, much of their time can be taken up filling out daily charts and other forms of paperwork.

Minimising admin time provides carers with more time to build relationships with service users to deliver a higher quality of care. Moving paperwork to a digital system – advocated by Sajid Javid with targets for 80% of social care providers to have moved to digital records by March 2024 – reduces time taken to complete admin tasks and minimises mistakes.

  • Boosting efficiency to improve pay

Pay is a key issue for carers, with reports that 45% of care workers believe increasing pay is the best way to attract new recruits.

Without government support, companies are now raising carers’ pay individually, those within these companies have reported feeling more motivated to deliver a higher quality of care, as they feel more recognised and valued.

Financial resources are extremely stretched in homecare businesses, however new systems can identify pockets of capacity to boost efficiencies and enable much-needed pay increases.

  • Supporting career progression

Consider how you could support progression from within your homecare business. What additional training could you offer your carers to help them develop?

With a digital system, all employee management data can be integrated, including carer training, recruitment, supervision reviews and appraisals, keeping all the documents to support progression in one place.

You may feel there’s little time to make internal changes, but the growing recruitment crisis means now is the time to improve your quality of care and your work environment for carers.

If you want to know how an integrated system could help your business, visit Tagtronics or call 01254 819 200.

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