Statistics on care homes in the UK tend to be a cautious subject. Media attention focuses on the bad side of this facility. But there is no getting away from the fact that as we are living longer, we will need more facilities to accommodate the sector of the population that needs care.
This month sees the announcement of the biggest reforms to the social care system in more than 60 years, with the arrival of The Care Act . This puts people and their carers in control of their own care and support and crucially, limits the amount that an individual has to pay towards the cost of their care.
The new system caps the amount people have to spend on their care, regardless of their financial status. £72,000 is the magic figure: after that, the state will pay those costs. Effectively it means that 35,000 more people will get help with their care costs when the system comes into force from April 2016. By 2024 to 2025 it is anticipated that up to 100,000 more people will benefit.
Hail the Chief
Crucially, we now have a Chief Inspector of Social Care, a Tsar-like figure who has the power to hold providers of care to account if the care is not up to standard. And as an incentive to ensure that care is up to scratch, there’s £3.8 billion allocated in the Spending Review settlement.
The majority of care home provision in the UK, in particular in England, is provided by local councils who contract out the supply of homecare services to the independent sector. This independent sector supplies over four-fifths of publicly funded homecare.
Unfortunately, long term underfunding of the social care system and considerable cuts to local authority budgets means that local authorities are and have been struggling. And the new Care Act doesn’t come into effect until 2017.
So what are care homes to do in the meantime to conserve budgets? There is a way to ensure that cost can equal quality. One of the vital factors in care home provision is catering and the most effective and efficient way to preserve costs is to first get a good cooking appliance, and second, make sure that it is consistently and regularly serviced and maintained.
AC Services (Southern) are oven servicing specialists for the top brand, Rational ovens and we have seen what happens to costs if cooking equipment breaks down.
You cannot take chances on this happening: a Rational oven will cook automatically and even clean itself on schedule, but there are always variables so an ongoing maintenance plan is essential. This includes regular check-ups by a qualified engineer who performs diagnostics on the appliance, and where necessary, replaces key components before they fail.
Preparation is key. Make sure that your kitchen in your care home is prepared for any eventuality by contacting AC Services (Southern) to see how we can help you save costs.