CareShare is an innovative model for the provision of home care (domiciliary) services initiated by nquiringminds (IOT innovator), the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council to rethink the problem of providing care in the home. We believe that technology has a crucial role to play in delivering more efficient care services. Sharing data between citizens and organisations, in a privacy centric way, will be the key to fully engaging the community in this growing problem.

As reported by numerous recent news articles, home care services in the UK are in crisis. The domiciliary care market in the UK is worth £4.62 billion a year, of which £3.83 billion is funded by the state, the remainder being self-funded. Demographic trends mean demand for these services is increasing, but economic realities mean state provision is on the decline.

A typical carer will take home the average living wage, but the nature of the industry is one of zero hours contracts, making staff retention difficult. Recruiting into this industry is a real problem, with the demands and conditions of the job far exceeding the pay awarded. The average cost to end user (in most cases Local Authorities or councils) will rarely drop below £15 per hour of care; the clear implication of these figures is the current model of care provision is inefficient. CareShare will go some way to addressing these inefficiencies with disruptive technology development.

As reported by the BBC TV Panorama programme (20 March 2017) private care companies are going out of business with 1 in 4 privately owned care homes expected to close in the future. Furthermore, in some areas, such companies are handing back contracts won from local authorities for domiciliary care, because they can’t deliver the standards needed profitably. According to the UK’s Homecare Association UKHCA 2016 report, 50% of providers have refused to tender for local authority care tenders due to financial pressures.

These challenges and financial figures will also need to be interpreted in light of the Carers UK report (2016), which estimates that the financial contribution of unpaid carers is worth an additional £132 billion per year.

Clearly something needs to be done: Careshare, working proactively with partners is seeking to respond with an innovative and practical solution. The CareShare project is devised to address these issues. It is based on a new model for home care provision, which is looking to innovate in two key areas:

  1. Full integration of unpaid workers: current care provision is highly fragmented. Healthcare and social care (state and self-funded) are frequently detached from one another. More importantly, the care provided by the unpaid sector (the largest by economic measures) has very little integration with organisational provided care. By integrating these services, and approaching the care problem from the citizens’ perspective, it will be possible to provide services that are more integrated and therefore more efficient.
  2. Care commissioning: the current model of care commissioning tends to rely largely on long term, geographically ring fenced framework contracts. Our dynamic digital platform is geared to commission care in smaller units and can provide more services. It will also cultivate more intimate relationships between carer and citizen, resulting in more economic efficiencies.

Nick Allott, CEO of NquringMinds said:

We believe that technology has a crucial role to play in delivering more efficient care services. Sharing data between citizens and organisations, in a privacy centric way, will be the key to fully engaging the community, in this growing problem.

Professor AbuBakr Bahaj, head of the Energy of Climate Change Division at the University of Southampton and partner on the project commented:

This project was developed to address the challenge of the care in society, bringing together local authorities and industry and has the potential to expand its approach to other challenges in society. We anticipate the developed platforms will also help self-reliance of local communities in the City,

Sandra Jerrim, Lead Commissioner for Southampton Adult Social Care said:

We are keen to explore the use of Care technology as a key enabler in the delivery of health and social care and excited to be working with CareShare/NQuiring minds to see where this new innovation can help release capacity, create efficiency and provide individuals with greater choice.

For more information on the roll out of the CareShare platform please contact info@nqminds.com

CareShare is supported by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency.