Open access Costs and economic consequences of a help-at-home scheme for older people in England

Annette Bauer, Martin Knapp, Gerald Wistow, Margaret Perkins, Derek King, Valentina Iemmi (2017)

Health and Social Care in the Community 25 2 780-789

10.1111/hsc.12372

Available online: 11 July 2016

Abstract
Solutions to support older people to live independently and reduce the cost of an ageing population are high on the political agenda of most developed countries. Help-at-home schemes offer a mix of community support with the aim to address a range of well-being needs. However, not much is currently known about the costs, outcomes and economic consequences of such schemes. Understanding their impact on individuals’ well-being and the economic consequences for local and central government can contribute to decisions about sustainable long-term care financing. This article presents results from a mixed-methods study of a voluntary sector-provided help-at-home scheme in England for people of 55 years and older. The study followed a participatory approach, which involved staff and volunteers. Data were collected during 2012 and 2013. Social care-related quality of life was measured with the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit for 24 service users (59% response rate) when they started using the scheme and 4–6 months later. A customised questionnaire that captured resource use and well-being information was sent to 1064 service users (63% response rate). The same tool was used in assessment with service users who started using the scheme between November 2012 and April 2013 (100% response rate). Costs of the scheme were established from local budget and activity data. The scheme was likely to achieve a mean net benefit of £1568 per person from a local government and National Health Service (NHS) perspective and £3766 from the perspective of the individual. An expenditure of £2851 per person accrued to central government for the additional redistribution of benefit payments to older people. This article highlights the potential contribution of voluntary sector-run help-at-home schemes to an affordable welfare system for ageing societies.