Social care - Supporting integration and improvement

Working in close partnership with the adults and children’s care sectors is at the heart of our social care programme.

This year we issued our first social care guidelines to provide the health and care system with practical, evidence based advice on planning and delivering integrated, high quality care that delivers good value for money. These were developed with the help of experts working in social care, people with social care needs and leading figures from the sector.

Promoting high quality home care

Published in September, our Home care guideline aimed to promote older people’s independence and to ensure safe and consistently high quality, home care services.

The guideline was developed following a report on home care by the Care Quality Commission that highlighted specific areas for improvement in the quality, reliability and consistency of services. When it was published Chair of the guideline committee and Chief Executive of the UK Home Care Association, Bridget Warr, highlighted the guideline’s importance in an article for the Local Government Chronicle.

Professor Gillian Leng said:

“The need for support at home is something that is likely to affect many of us. Helping a person remain as independent as possible is an important component to maintaining their wellbeing. Without good support, older people can suffer from social isolation, malnutrition or neglect.

Improving the quality of life for older people with social care needs

The Home care guideline was followed up by two further pieces of guidance focused on the needs of older people in social care.

In November we published our guideline on social care for older people with multiple long term conditions, which called for better health and care services to work more closely together to deliver effective care and improve quality of life for those they look after.

Chair of the committee that developed the guideline, Bernard Walker said:

“Better integration of health and social care services is best practice to which everyone involved in the care of older people with complex care needs and multiple long-term conditions should aspire.”

In December, our guideline on transition between hospital and community or care home settings aimed to ensure people with social care needs get support when they leave hospital. It recommended that hospitals should make a single person responsible for coordinating a patient’s discharge. It also advised that pressure on beds should not result in any unplanned or uncoordinated discharges, and advised commissioners of health and social care services should develop plans to address pressures on services, including bed shortages.

Dr Olivier Gaillemin, Acute Medicine Consultant at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, set out how the guideline could benefit patients, their families and carers.

Supporting the guideline, Tony Hunter, Chief Executive of SCIE said:

“The guideline helps by providing a joint script and practical advice with recommendations for health and social care staff working in hospitals and the community, often in testing circumstances. It’s really good that the guideline focuses on what should happen in hospital, from admission onwards and throughout someone’s stay, so that their discharge isn’t rushed or unplanned.”

Putting young people at the heart of decisions about their care

In February this year we published a new guideline for children’s care. The guideline aimed to improve support for thousands of young people using health and social care services as they become adults.

Poor management of transitions can affect young people who use a wide range of services including people with complex health and social care needs, child and adolescent mental health service users, young people leaving residential care.

The guideline set out how young people using health and social care services should be supported to make decisions about their future and how they should be involved, with their carers, in planning the transition between services.

Dr Eugenia Lee, a GP who sat on the committee that developed the guideline wrote a blog for NICE about her role as a transition lead in Greenwich. Also in a short film another committee member and service user, Thines Ganeshamoorthy, shared his experiences of moving to adult services, and his hopes for the guideline he helped to develop.

Watch service user and guideline developer Thines Ganeshamoorthy talk about his experience of moving to adult services

Carrie Wilson, who was in care until 4 years ago and was on the guideline committee, said:

“Young people need to be put at the heart of the care they receive. This guideline will help to address gaps in the care system at an important time. I hope all those working with young people in health and social care will adopt these recommendations so we can give some of our most vulnerable people the continuity, support and security they need at a time of great change and risk.”