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Topic for May 2020 - Elderly Social Care

    • 67 posts
    May 9, 2020 2:26 PM BST

    Addressing Elderly Social Care through a cross-party approach was one of the promises made by the Government. Covid-19 has also shone a light on various aspects of Elderly Social Care and we are all even more aware of some of the issues around it. 

    So, our suggested agenda for looking at this topic is: 

    • Root causes of why Social Care is such an issue
      • e.g. longevity, population growth, annual cost per head, losing one’s home, NI now a general tax

    • Can we reduce the need for care through longer, healthier lives?
      • e.g. staying fit and healthy, preventative medicine, drugs etc

    • Can care in the home and increasing the ability to stay in one’s home, play a part?
      • e.gg. technology, remote monitoring, community groups

    • The role of Sheltered Accommodation and Retirement Villages

    • Residential Care, Residential and Nursing Care, Dementia Care
      • Linkage to the health service
      • Use of technology e.g. Japan
      • Status of carers
      • Lessons from Covid-19

    • The role of families and carers

    • As potential users what would we like the system to look like?
      • Can we learn anything from Germany and Japan?
      • Is there a place for assisted dying?

    • Should Social Care be integrated with the NHS? One budget?
      • How should it be run, staffed, public/private?

    • What should the overall Objectives of Elderly Social Care Strategy be?
      • Reducing the need for care, through healthier lives and longer Independence?
      • Providing quality of life right to the end?
      • Improving the quality of care while reducing cost per head

    • How do we pay for it?
      • Can we reduce costs short-term and long-term, while improving quality?
      • Where does NI fit in

    • What should be the rights and responsibilities of the state and the individual?


    • 102 posts
    May 21, 2020 8:45 PM BST

    The output of our discussions on the topic of Elderly Social Care are now available. This month there are two outputs, one from the Deep Thought discussion group and one from the new UK wide online discussion group, known as Zero Gravity.

    The outputs, in that order, are at:




    This post was edited by Tony Clack at May 23, 2020 5:51 PM BST
    • 102 posts
    May 23, 2020 5:48 PM BST

    A quick summary of the main ideas covering both the above documents is given below. Each of the bulleted items is expanded on in those documents:


    What should the Objectives and Role of Elderly Social Care be in our lives?

    The objectives that came out of our discussions were:

    • Prolonging active life and providing quality of life right to the end
    • Improving the quality of care and healthcare, improving access to it, and treating people with respect, while reducing cost per head through technology
    • Reducing the need for care, through healthier lives and longer Independence
    • Providing leadership in application of science and technology to Social Care in order to deliver the above objectives at the earliest opportunity

    Summary of the main thoughts and ideas in this document

    This section summarises the ideas that are elaborated in the two documents and contribute to meeting the above objectives. These ideas have not been prioritised or fully qualified but are the basis for further discussion.

    Integrate parts of Elderly Social Care with the NHS

    • Certainly Nursing Care but not necessarily Residential Care because of different objectives and culture
    • Opportunity for integrated Career Structure across Care Homes and NHS
    • Use pandemic to reset status, attractiveness and rewards of the industry

    Reduce the need for care through longer, healthier lives and less unhealthy years

    • Prioritise preventative medicine as per the Manifesto of Ideas
    • Prioritise research in areas that can save most costs through delaying debilitating illnesses
    • Encourage and regulate the market in Personalised Digital Health Products and Services which monitor, suggest interventions and provide triage level health diagnosis
    • Focus on objective of fewer unhealthy years in context of Social care
    • Mobilise the retired population through a retirement infrastructure with health at its centre
    • In the context of this topic only, take a nanny state approach with stronger preventative carrot and stick nudges on health, fitness and diet

     Increase the ability to stay in one’s home

    • Encourage an independence technology market
      • In-home application of voice control, technology, robotics AI and general ‘Living Aids’
      • Application of remote monitoring of health and circumstances
    • Harness the community spirit generated by the pandemic by capturing initiatives under a Community Watch umbrella similar to Neighbourhood Watch
    • Invest in care in community services which encourage use of the above technologies, are built around them and identify improvements

     Increase the role of Sheltered Accommodation and Retirement Villages

    • Harnessing the above technologies but in a standardized way and to scale
    • Increased factory-built properties with these facilities to lower costs
    • Change both the actual attractiveness and perception of these to be a normal and preferred option in later life.
      • Marketing of these 21st century facilities as very attractive options
      • Facilities integrated with wider community
      • Incentive point at state pension age

    Improve quality and reduce costs of Residential Care, Residential and Nursing Care, Dementia Care

    • Contribution from all the above
    • Use of robotics and remote monitoring technology and AI triage diagnosis to take as much mundane work as possible from staff, improve quality and allow staff and remote doctors to monitor health and consult remotely. Incentives to deploy.
    • Automated construction of modular Care Homes
    • New Nursing Homes sited on NHS hospital sites

    How do we pay for it?

    • Social Care should be insurance based
    • Should be ring-fenced contribution not part of general taxation, visible on pay slips. Some costs payed directly in short-term but with a cap as per original Dilnot report
    • There must be a clear SLA (Service Level Agreement) of what we get for our money and for purposes of regulation and inspections plus ‘Open Book’ accounting
    • Retired to continue paying into Elderly Care Insurance-based scheme, albeit at a lower rate

    Involve business and entrepreneurs

    • Incentivise formation of personal and Corporate Foundations which address society big issues including Social Care