In recent years there has been a wave of challenges and changes for every sector, with social care being one of the most impacted. We’ve seen an ensemble of factors endangering the quality care that over 1.1million people in the UK receive, as well as exciting prospects for transmuting these challenges into opportunities!
So, we’re creating a series of articles about these challenges, they’re impact, and to deliver some good news for social care in the form of solutions. In this article we outline these challenges, with each one being covered in more detailed articles that will also dive into workable, creative and exciting solutions for each.
We feel social care in the UK is a wonderful thing. It can be challenging, exhausting even! But in few other places will you find dedicated people who are so caring, attentive, and nurturing of the comfort, safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people. Another reason we are writing these articles is to acknowledge and celebrate the real experiences of carers, workers, managers and directors to keep the care system running, and to share some best practices from across the board to deal with these challenges effectively.
So, without further ado, here they are; the list isn’t exhaustive, but these are the 5 biggest challenges we’re seeing social care facing today, with each being interconnected.
1. Recruitment 👩💼
Perhaps the biggest pain point care providers are dealing with is recruiting enough staff to provide the appropriate level of care and potential capacity. With qualified, experienced staff leaking out of the sector and difficulties in attracting candidates, this is proving to be a key operational issues care managers are facing.
We will look into the root causes and explore technologies that are trying to help, including recruitment solutions, web scraping and salary drawdown.
2. Financial Constraints 💰
A problem at the intersection of a range of challenges is the financial constraints that care providers are dealing with. Constrained government spending over the years that has not kept up with demand, Covid requirements, recruitment issues, and lower occupancy rates are amongst the factors feeding into this issue which creates constraints for care providers to answer to these challenges.
We’ll look at solutions using software to directly lower and prevent costs, as well as boost revenues, including payroll and rostering tools, web-forms, CRM tools, and more.
3. Staff Retention & Development 🌱
Related to recruitment is staff retention and development in care which has been exacerbated by covid and covid legislation, overworked staff and illnesses, onboarding inexperienced new staff amid covid, and difficulties incentivising staff to remain in care compared to some other sectors. Like recruitment, tackling this challenge can help with occupancy potential, retaining knowledge and expertise, and improving the quality of care and compliance.
Exciting solutions in store include interactive hybrid training and learning, newer LMS systems, wellbeing tech, and staff experience personalisation tools.
4. Providing Care During Covid-19 🦠
We would be amiss to not bring up Covid-19 itself as a challenge. Covid had a massive impact on the sector initially in 2020, and while a lot of progress and easing of its burdens has happened since, it remains a challenge for care organisations seeking to protect their residents, retain good contingencies for the future, and to ensure compliance.
Solutions include compliance-friendly software for care, procurement and estates software for PPE equipment, covid-tracking tools, as well as visitation and collaboration solutions.
5. Planning for Change 📝
As a result of an admixture of these challenges (and some!), decision makers in care have also been under a lot of pressure, having to often stay in ‘firefighting’ mode to assure effective, compliant operations. The cost to this has been less time and space for focusing on strategy and planning broader moves to tackle these issues at a root-cause level; the pressures are getting in the way of solving them sustainably and systematically and so we’ve included this as another big challenge care organisations face.
We’re extra-excited about this one! We’ll discuss solutions like project planning and staff engagement tools, reporting & tracking solutions, and combining them to make change.
💡 Final Thoughts:
Care providers are operating in a complex and changing world – we saw how a virus in Wuhan came to shut down the globe within weeks, while a huge range of new technologies offer amazing opportunities for care providers to provide more cost-effective, quality care.
On the other hand, some things are uncertain, such as whether the government will create sustainable solutions to these challenges – as a result, it’s up to decision makers to fight for sustainable change in our sector.
Digital transformation is inexorably taking off in all sectors; organisations that transform nimbly and effectively will enjoy the lion’s share of the benefits. This series discusses a range of opportunities for care homes to innovate new solutions for these challenges. We know applying them is no doddle! Change can be complex and scary, but it is extremely worthwhile and can yield huge benefits for care organisations going forward.
Would you like to get extra clarity, excitement, and direction for your digital journey? Contact our friendly team of experts here.