An extra 71,000 care home beds will be needed in England by 2025 with rising numbers of people unable to live independently, new research has revealed.
The study by Newcastle University, which has been published in The Lancet, estimates that an additional £940m will be needed to maintain social care standards in England within four years.
Professor Carol Jagger, from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, who led the study, said: “Our findings have considerable implications for relatives as older people will have complex needs, requiring sustained input from family carers or social care teams to support independent living.”
The authors estimate that if rates of dependency remain constant, there will be an additional 190,000 older people with medium care needs, and 163,000 with high by 2025 compared to 2015.
Additionally, the study projects an increase in the number of people with low dependency – generally looked after in the community – of 885,000 by 2025.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, University of Oxford, commented: “Expenditure on the care of older people will need to increase substantially and quickly.
“It will be important to ensure that this expenditure is managed efficiently, and in particular that the boundary between health care and social care is well handled.
“In England, for example, there is substantial difficulty in so-called delayed discharges, where patients remain in (more expensive) hospital care, despite being fit to leave, because it has not been possible to arrange social care for them, which is less expensive and also more appropriate.
“Although the overall amount of care needed will increase substantially, this increase does not mean that every individual will need large amounts of care.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, added: “This analysis reinforces the urgent need to reform adult social care and deliver a long-term sustainable solution.
“While it is great news that life expectancy is increasing, the Lancet study confirms our warnings that this will heap even more pressures on social care and the demand for services, which are already under huge strain.
“While the £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget for social care was a step in the right direction, it is only one-off funding and social care services still face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020.
“It is absolutely critical that the Government brings forward its consultation for social care announced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with local government leaders in delivering a long-term sustainable solution for social care.
“This must address the issue of long-term funding, but it must also create the conditions necessary to ensure the development of the right kind of care and support services, that can meet the demand of an increasing number of adults with care needs.”