Providing effective preventative services for older people

Posted on Monday 27th January 2014

Robin Miller, Senior Fellow HSMCAn article by HSMC's Robin Miller entitled 'Providing effective preventative services for older people' was recently published in 'The Guardian'. Robin writes:

“The potential to provide preventative services for older-people has been promoted by the third sector as one of its unique selling points. This has been reflected in national policy on the basis that key characteristics commonly attributed to the sector suggest they have an advantage over public and private organisations. These include a connection within local communities, the trust that older people often place in their brand, and their willingness to work holistically and flexibly to achieve better outcomes for their beneficiaries.

There are many examples of third sector organisations successfully providing innovative preventative support that are valued by older people and also by commissioners. But as with any such discussion it must be remembered that this is a diverse sector in terms of size, scope and organisational missions. Factors beyond the organisation will affect the impact it can make, in particular its relationship with the commissioners who provide an increasing proportion of their funding.

A study funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research explored the perspectives of the two sectors in regards to preventative services for older people. In contrast with the tensions that are often described, it found that third sector organisations and their commissioners enjoyed positive relationships and had shared understandings of their respective roles which were largely met. Commissioners' priorities were preventing older people needing social care services in the future, while for third sector organisations the emphasis was on improved quality of life for individuals. But this difference was reconciled in practice… “

Read the full article in the Guardian here