The role of social care in building a stronger NHS

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    The system is overburdened, and sometimes, patients are unnecessarily left in the hospital longer than is appropriate. However, one fundamental cog should be included in the machine: social care.

    At the most basic level, social care is care and support that aims to help people live the way they want and stay home. If those in need of care are benefiting from social care workers offering the following help:

    • Help is in the activities of daily living, such as things like dressing.
    • Cooking meals.
    • Even taking a walk outside.

    Social care might sound like low-hanging fruit, but it is crucial to the NHS operation.

    What is the difference between NHS and social care

    Social care and the NHS are both valuable for individuals. Still, the two systems serve different roles that are interchangeable and complementary. To better understand the differences between the NHS and social care, a closer evaluation must be made regarding the definition and primary goal.

    The most significant difference between the two lies within their purposes: while the NHS is focused on treating illnesses, social care is concentrated on supporting people to either help them with their health conditions or manage their everyday lives with the condition.

    It is critical to consider these differences when exploring ways to interconnect social care and the NHS to form a better healthcare framework.

    Healthcare is a set of services provided by the NHS that focuses on determining and addressing various health conditions of individuals. These can be injuries or illnesses and exist in many forms, from surgical operations to consultations and urgent care.

    In contrast, social care is an extensive array of services intended to help people live and remain independent and improve their daily lives. While many aspects of social care are connected with pedagogical and psychological assistance, all types focus on helping people with everyday activities, from dressing and cooking to personal assistance. The idea that one must replace the other is somewhat flawed, as both systems serve people with different needs and goals.

    When social care is connected with the NHS more efficiently, fewer people are admitted and accumulate in hospitals, meaning patients can be discharged faster and more efficiently. For example, people with difficulty returning home after surgery can be assigned a social care worker. This might allow the NHS to reduce the time for patient discharge from a hospital, lowering the number of accumulated people and increasing hospitals’ efficiency. In general, by combining the two in a single system, we can provide people with better health outcomes and life conditions, support the NHS, and ensure its long-term efficiency.

    Social Care Explained: reducing waiting times.

    Now, imagine your Grandma falling and spending a night or two in the hospital. Her doctors provide care for now, but there is a concern. She wishes to go to her house immediately, but what if no one can provide support at home? This is where social care steps in. Domiciliary care workers can help her at home and aid in recovery, sometimes called post-hospital care. It will release a hospital bed for someone who needs it, and your Grandma can get well at her own home where she is comfortable.

    It begins a much broader definition of social care than simply post-hospital support. It can also save a trip to the hospital. For example, you have a person with diabetes who is concerned about how they are feeling and wants to know how they can better manage their blood sugar; maybe they don’t even care about anything else. ‘Can you help me with my blood sugar? ‘ A care worker can help with levels monitoring and a healthy diet to avoid a hospital presence and to feel good.

    Social care relieves the NHS’s burden, supporting people to stay well and recover at home. Hospitalisations are costly, and reducing them is suitable for patients and payers.

    The Social Care and NHS collaboration

    So, it sounds great, all this social care. But how to make it an even greater one? The difficulty is that it requires a unified response between social care and the NHS. Let’s say a patient is about to be discharged from a hospital ward, and they have a physiotherapy session scheduled for them. This is how a team effort might work out:

    • The hospital doctor discusses the patient’s needs with the social worker. Social care is organised so a therapist can see the patient at home.
    • All caregivers join efforts to facilitate the patient’s healing in the quickest time possible.
    • Home help arranged by Social Services or a third-party agency such as Hygea Homecare assists in the care and support with therapy sessions.

    So, how do we improve social care even more?

    Personal Stories: The Effect of Social Care in Real Life

    More carers are Needed!

    We need to attract the very best people to work in social care. This includes ensuring they receive decent compensation and proper training on effectively carrying out their duties.

    Technology in social care

    Ambitious technology can make a big difference. Take a smartwatch, for example. Some will even text someone if you fall! These gadgets can assist more people in ageing independently and safely in their homes. Or care software that families also have access to like the CareCircle provided by companies like CareLineLive.

    Spreading the Word!

    This is perfect not just for one but for all of us. It would also relieve pressure on an overburdened NHS by reducing the number of people using the service, addressing NHS waiting lists, and freeing up more time for doctors and nurses.

    This can also assist social care providers in keeping jobs and ensuring that their skilled labour force is used more effectively.

    Real cases showing the true impact of social care

    The Road to Emily’s Liberation

    Emily, a 72-year-old who suffers from arthritis and can barely manage the simplest tasks of everyday living. She had had a fall and was in the hospital briefly, which is when she was first referred to social care. An external care company was arranged to assist with care at her home. After several weeks, she returned to herself, and most interventions stopped.”

    John’s Recovery After Surgery

    “After major surgery at 55, John Faced a long healing process. His social care worker coordinated with his healthcare providers so he could do physical therapy at home. So, in the end, he was discharged earlier than scheduled. This prevented further complications that would have sent him back to the hospital.”

    Managing a Chronic Condition With Sarah

    “For Sarah, living with chronic heart disease, as a young adult, she was dependent on social care for regular check-ups and lifestyle management. Her social care worker closely monitored her signs and symptoms and helped her with dietary modifications. These measures kept Sarah from the hospital, and they lived a far better quality of life.”

    The Wider Picture: Social Care and Service Community Resilience

    Social care is robust, at its core, serving the needs of individuals and communities. It supports people in staying fit, healthy and independent so that local health services are less stretched. As a result, communities are much stronger and more able to provide for themselves.

    Community-Based Programs

    Programs are designed to be more community-based and tailored to individual needs, often through partnerships with municipalities, NPOs, and healthcare stakeholders. These will build a solid support system to cater to the affected group.

    Volunteer Support Networks

    Volunteer networks must be put into the service as an indispensable supplementary action to the professional social care performed by social workers. They provide several services, such as Companionship, general errands, and emotional support. Doing this will improve social care services, but most importantly, they also guard community safety.

    Funding and Resources

    This is another way of saying that paying for care properly is essential to maintaining sufficient levels and quality of care. The Government of England (GoE) encountered difficulties in financing its Social Work and Preventative (SWAP) program, mainly due to the perception that the initial investment will unlikely result in a return on investment despite the ability of social care enhancement to result in cost reductions for the health sector.

    Workforce Development

    A skilled, employed workforce must be marshalled for the task. Our care workforce deserves to be treated as professionals, too. This includes giving them the training they need to succeed on the job, creating clear career paths to professional development, and honestly acknowledging the sheer extent to which we rely on the people who work in social care.

    Integrating Technology

    Investment and training to use technology for social care Those deploying new technologies must also work to make both care recipients and workers comfortable with the technology.

    Future Vision

    So, the future of social care in the UK looks positive, with plenty of room for growth, development, and improvement.

    Holistic Care Models

    Together with a complete care solution, it covers the full spectrum of care by delivering both social care and healthcare. This process constitutes a medical necessity for daily life survival needs.

    Policy Advocacy

    The focus must always be on entrenching a policy that underwrites social care. We can and will move society forward, but it is a long struggle that means challenging politicians and opinion makers who are complicit with the bias and walking alternatives to the same-old-same-old narratives they promote.

    Community Engagement

    Encouraging communities to engage in Social Care conversations can generate unique ideas and foster a resilient network. Community involvement makes certain that social care is delivered based on the requirements of the population being offered the services.

    Key Takeaway: The Power of Social Care

    This supports rather than simply reaching a hand to help at home — it enriches people’s lives, reduces the burden on the NHS, and strengthens our communities. Supporting care is investing in a healthier future — and yes, a more resilient one — and we should not stop advocating for the transformative power of care.

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