How capturing meaningful data is enabling care home commissioners to better allocate scarce resources
The care home sector is facing financial pressures that, for many homes, could potentially lead to closure. Contributing factors include the introduction of the national living wage and the fall in fees that local authorities and the NHS are able to contribute to residential care. Alongside this there has been an overall tightening of controls over health care funding.
The impact of care home closures could ultimately result in elderly residents needing to stay in hospitals much longer than required, which only results in extra costs for the NHS. It’s predicted that by 2020 the care system will have lost 1,500 care homes.
Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities are aware of the pressures facing care homes and are exploring how they can support system resilience to ensure care homes remain viable and support continuing care needs.
How can data capture seek to address these issues?
Reporting on performance is extremely important, as is using self-assessment as an enabler to assure commissioners, residents and care home staff that the care provision is safe, effective and compassionate - whilst still delivering value for money. With regular self-assessment, care homes should still be able to confidently answer the following questions:
- are we safe?
- are we well led?
- are we caring?
- are we responsive? and
- are we effective?
In order to capture this data effectively a relationship between the provider and recipient of the information needs to be built. For example, a Clinical Commissioning Group who commissions a number of beds from a care home, will want to know the same type of performance data from the provider of care as they would from an acute Trust. The data may vary but the principle remains the same.
Such data can provide critical information to help ensure resources are being efficiently deployed. For example, a county council has been capturing data from its care homes around the number of ambulance call outs and the reason for the calls being made. This information has enabled the council to analyse the conversion rate between a call and an emergency admission and highlight which care homes may need more support in risk stratification and decision making.
By adopting a strategy of capturing smart, meaningful data such as this, commissioners and local authorities can ensure that their limited funds are effectively targeted and actions can be taken. Similarly, through benchmarking their care homes, those adopting best practice can be identified, and resources targeted into those who have the greatest need.
Download the full report to learn more about how we have been working with the care home sector to improve performance.