Finding and funding social care: a qualitative study of the experiences of self-funders

Project leads: Dr Louise Overton

The number of older people needing social care in the UK is predicted to rise.

The proportion of the population who have to pay for care using their own resources is also likely to rise as the fiscal pressures on care systems continue to impact on eligibility levels. However, there is widespread misunderstanding around social care and how it is funded. For instance, people are unsure about where the responsibility for care funding lies.

This research aims to address the gap in evidence about the journeys of those who pay for their own care in later life (self-funders). It will generate research evidence to improve the delivery of information to existing and potential self-funders and their relatives by expanding the range of information sources to include peer experiences, and strengthening the ability of professionals in social care and related sectors to offer holistic and appropriate information and advice. Peer experiences will be published in written and video formats on – the sister site to the award winning website.

Research objectives

  • To hold focus group discussions to determine who would use/signpost to an online resource, how and when
  • To use qualitative research methods, principally analysis of narrative interviews, to explore self-funders’ journeys from initially recognising their need for social care through to finding and funding that care
  • To provide accessible summaries of people’s experiences, illustrated with text and video extracts from the interviews to create a new module on for self-funders
  • To evaluate the embedding and use of the new module in two case study sites

Research team

This research project is being led by Dr Kate Baxter at Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, and involves CHASM academics from the University of Birmingham and colleagues from the University of Oxford and Huddersfield University.

The academic research team includes:

Dr Kate Baxter (PI) and Professor Yvonne Birks, University of York

Dr Louise Overton and Professor Andy Lymer, University of Birmingham

Dr Emily Heavey, University of Huddersfield

Dr Sarah Ryan, Oxford University

There will be additional input from:

Sharon Calline, City of York Council

Adam Barnett,

Partners and sponsors

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), under the call Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)

Outputs and impact

  • A final report to Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB).
  • A self-funders module on the Socialcaretalk website
  • Paying for social care (older people): Definitions and terminology on
  • A selection of academic publications
  • Health and social care, academic and practitioner-based conference presentations 

CHASM Research Projects - Personal financial wellbeing and later life - Dr Louise Overton

Find out more about some of our other social care research projects.