The Costs of Care vs Real Human Needs

We are passionate about keeping a balance between being a provider of a high-level of care, led by the needs of our service users; and ensuring that we also remain as a viable business which will be able to stand the test of time and continue to provide the level of care we have promised to our service users and their families.

As avid Guardian readers, we were interested to read an article published on 11 Nov 2011 about a recent ruling on a court case  between two disabled people who won a case they brought against the Isle of Wight coucil which planned to reduce its adult social care budget.(The article is here if you would like to read it.)

We are finding that the current global economic downturn has highlighted the ever difficult conflict between financial pressures of those buying care (the purchasers) and the level of quality care provision.  Much like many other providers, we are frequently asked to justify or quantify our fees in detail for the purchaser.

We understand that this is process which helps the purchaser make their decision on using Richardson Partnership for Care which is a valuable and necessary process for them (especially in this climate). As a management team we have been more than happy to highlight the elements which make our homes the homes of choice for families struggling to manage their family members who are rehabilitating from an acquired brain injury or have a learning difficulty. What we can not negotiate on…is our price. As a family business with values steeped in providing the kind of care that allows a service user to live the life they want to (not forced to) and achieve their own personal goals – this is one point we will not negotiate on.

If we did diminish the level of investment needed to retain our level of care – this would mean that resources are being used in a tighter manner which has some benefits, however the biggest pitfall is that potentially our service users’ needs will be overlooked. As a business with a mission to attend to the social, health and life needs of our service users – this really sticks in our throats and consequently is something we avoid completely.

In a time of massive professional accountability it must be very difficult for purchasers to balance the costs of care versus the “needs” battle.  In the same breath, we are not afraid of justifying where our fees are being spent and we continue to give a valuable professional service to our service users and their families.  As registered and regulated care providers we also ensure that our homes abide by the Health and Social Care Act 2008, Health and Safety and other relevant legislation and doing this on a budget is difficult…so we welcome hearing that care budgets are not going to easily be dropped as this is a positive for all within the care sector.

It has to be said though…it is a shame that money has to be wasted on taking these issues to court! We’d love to hear any of your thoughts on the subject or any experiences you have had with your local council on this subject.