Extra funding for care homes as demand rises

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
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Sheffield’s elderly residents face mounting competition for the city’s care homes as demand continues to rise.

The council is increasing the rate it pays to care homes for people who receive council funding. The new rate will be £463 for residential and nursing care, per bed per week.

Sheffield’s rates for residential and nursing are low in comparison to its neighbours in Yorkshire.

And the council is worried that if demand continues to increase there is a risk that there won’t be enough places at the right quality and price for the people who need them.

The city currently has 78 independent care homes for older adults providing 3,209 beds.

Of these, 18 are voluntary or third sector homes. These homes range from small operators with a single care home in a converted property, to large national organisations that run many purpose-built care homes – typically focused on areas of the city where land costs are lower.

People living in care homes are often aged over 85 and are likely to be frailer and have greater care needs than in previous decades. Many access care later in life after a spell in hospital.

Currently 13,300 people in Sheffield are over 85 and this is expected to rise steeply to over 19,000 by 2030.

In a report to councillors, officers say: “The market in the city has remained relatively stable over the last 12 months however there continues to be a significant demand for places and the occupancy of care homes remains relatively high.

“If the demand increases there is a risk that there will be insufficient places at the right quality and price for the people who need them.”

Coun Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, told a meeting of the council’s Cabinet: “We have met with providers and are confident this new approach is fair.

“It’s significant how seriously this council takes its responsibility for caring for vulnerable older people. This is a higher than inflation increase in a very difficult financial climate but we need to ensure there is sufficient provision for an aging population.”

Home care

The number of providers has increased from nine to over 40.

More hours - 28,472 per week - are now being commissioned for more people - 2,774 - than at this time last year.

The increasing demand is created largely by people coming out of hospital sooner, avoiding care home admissions and requiring more support.

Supported living

This helps adults with disabilities and now has 22 providers. Demand continues to grow.

Extra care and assisted living

There are nine schemes in Sheffield and most cater for older people. The council funds five and the remaining four were privately developed to accommodate people funding their own care.