Mary is a pensioner who lives on her own. She’s finding everyday tasks a bit much and needs help to cope. She’s not wealthy but she owns her home, has savings and a reasonable pension.
She knows she will have to pay for her own care. “But where do I start?”
A friend told her that her local council would be able to help. She went on the website but got a bit confused. She wasn’t really sure what type of service she was looking for and didn’t understand all of the terms used. Eventually she found a list of local care companies. It was a long list.
She clicked on a few and looked at the details. “They all look much the same to me. I might as well just pick the one at the top.”
The staff at Aardvark Social Care Agency she called were very helpful but said they couldn’t deliver services in her area at the moment. She tried again and Abacus Care Agency were a little more helpful and arranged for someone to visit Mary to discuss what help they could offer. “I hope it’s what I need,” she thought.
Meanwhile, across town, the owner of Zebra Care Agency Services is thinking about changing the name of her business to see if she gets more enquiries?
Mary’s story is made up. But it’s typical of the experience of many self-funders. Negotiating your way through the care system is confusing and difficult. It often seems complicated to those of us who work in the system – so imagine how it feels to people exploring it for the first time?
Because they don’t know the system and there’s no TripAdvisor equivalent, they tend to go with personal recommendations, pick the first one off the list that looks OK, or maybe just struggle on as best they can.
Is There a Better Way for Self-Funders to Choose a Care Provider?
Many people would feel reassured if the LA social care team helped them to choose a provider. After all, their brokerage team is choosing care providers for people every day and know the local market.
The ideal solution would be to integrate brokerage for self-funders with funded provision. That would have the added advantage of giving the local authority a better understanding of all social care needs in the area. But that’s not easy if the brokerage team is already overstretched.
One option being explored by local authorities is to implement an eBrokerage solution in addition to operating their local electronic marketplace portal. This streamlines the process and makes it easy for the whole market of approved care providers to bid for funded and self-funded care packages brokered by the LA (without relying on emails and phone calls)
This is fairer for providers and helps people like Mary to live independently at home for longer. The approach should also deliver better value for people who fund their own care.
Fortunately, there is already a secure, cloud-based platform that allows care packages to be brokered with a few clicks, and where providers instantly see and can easily bid for available packages.
eBrokerage by UDMS is a unique, secure cloud-based brokerage system. It’s also easy to procure through the G-Cloud 12 framework, via Ulysses eBrokerage Cloud Software.
Disclaimer: The agency names and narrative used in this article are fictitious. No identification with actual persons and agencies is intended or should be inferred.