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Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, England - 2018-19 [PAS]National statistics, Official statistics
- Publication Date:
- 22 Oct 2019
- Geographic Coverage:
- Geographical Granularity:
- Country, Regions, Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs), Local Authorities
- Date Range:
- 01 Apr 2018 to 31 Mar 2019
4. Long term care
Long term care is provided to clients on an ongoing basis and varies from high intensity provision such as nursing care, to lower intensity support in the community such as the provision of direct payments to arrange regular home care visits.
Whereas short term care is designed for a time limited period, and in the case of ST-Max with the aim of reducing or removing the clients need for ongoing care, long term care has no fixed time period and is delivered for as long as it is required.
Please Note: There are some differences in how information on long term care is collected between the ASC-FR and SALT returns.
For example, activity data includes those receiving long term care with a Primary Support Reason (PSR) of Social Support, whereas this PSR is not included in long term expenditure (instead being recorded as a combined short term/long term spend total).
In addition, information regarding support settings is recorded using different categories between the returns, and so this data cannot be directly compared.
Therefore, care must be taken when comparing the two returns; some comparisons of general trends can be made, but more direct comparisons, such as an average cost per person, are not recommended.
Nearly 80% of total gross current expenditure (£14.6 billion) is spent on long term care, which consists of residential, nursing and community care.
This represents an increase of £674 million (4.8%) compared to 2017-18, and accounts for a large proportion of the overall increases in total gross current expenditure during the year. This increase was split evenly between the two age groups (18 to 64 and 65 and over).
In activity terms, the total number of clients receiving long term support has fallen in each year since 2015-16. In 2018-19 there were 841,850 clients in receipt of long term support, a decrease of 15,920 (1.9%) clients from the previous year and 30,670 clients (3.5%) since 2015-16. However, when considering those accessing long term support by client age, there has been an increase each year for clients aged 18 to 64, see Figure 11 below.
Figure 11: Number of clients accessing long term support during the year, by age group, 2015-16 to 2018-19
In total, 841,850 clients were supported at some point in the year, with 636,690 of these clients (75.6%) in receipt of long term support at year end. Of this latter group, 478,440 clients (75.1%) had been receiving long term support for one year or more.
Although the collections do not capture intensity of support, the high proportion of clients that had been supported for 12 months or more at the end of the year reflects a need for ongoing support. As can be seen in Figure 12, the 18-64 age group has a higher proportion of clients in long term care at year end receiving long term support for one year or more (83.6%), compared to those aged 65 and over (69.5%).
Figure 12: The number of clients accessing long term support during the year, at year end, and for more than 12 months, by age group, 2018-19
Source: SALT Collection, 2018-19, NHS Digital - See Table 33 in Reference Data Tables
Figure 13 illustrates whilst the 18 to 64 age group accounts for 34.9% of all adults that accessed long term support at any point during the year, this increased to 44.6% of all clients who have accessed services for more than 12 months at year end.
Figure 13: Proportion of clients accessing long term support during the year, at year end, and for more than 12 months, by age group, 2018-19
Long term care
In 2018-19, 9 in 1,000 18 to 64 year olds received long term support during the year (the same rate as 2017-18), while 54 in 1,000 clients aged 65 and over received this type of support (from 56 in 1,000 clients in the previous year).
Figure 14: Number of clients accessing long term support during the year and gross current expenditure on long term support, by age band, 2018-19
Figure 14 shows that although just over one-third of long-term activity was provided to clients in the 18 to 64 age group in 2018-19, this age group accounted for almost half of the gross current expenditure for long term care during the period.
One explanation for this is that long term support for 18 to 64 year olds typically covers more complex care needs, and as a result, unit costs for both nursing and residential are much higher for this age band (unit costs are not available for community care). This is explored in more detail in the section regarding Primary Support Reasons.
Over half (58.2%) of all clients receiving long term support at the year-end are female. Data is not collected on gender split for short term care.
The proportion of female clients increases further when we consider those supported in a nursing home (62.0%) and further still (62.6%) when considering those in a residential home.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2018 mid-year population figures for England show that there are more women than men aged 65 and over (accounting for nearly 55% of the total population in this age group) Therefore, the numbers receiving long term care within the year may partially be a result of differences in the population for this age group.
Long term care activity by support setting
Support setting is the primary setting where the client receives services. Expenditure and activity data collect information regarding support setting using different categories. The main difference is for the community care setting. Expenditure data is captured using a mixture of delivery mechanism and support setting, whereas activity data is captured by delivery mechanism only, and so comparisons regarding support setting are limited between the two data sources, and discussion of the two collections has been separated in this section.
Use of hierarchies in support setting
An individual may receive care in multiple support settings throughout the year. To avoid double counting a hierarchy is used to ensure counts of those receiving support in the year are not duplicated.
An individual can only be counted under one setting in the hierarchy – for example if an individual received both residential and nursing care in the year, they would be counted under nursing care only.
For the purposes of this section therefore, analysis on support setting will focus instead on those receiving services at the end of the year. This provides a snap shot figure of the number of people in each support setting at year end.
Data on the support settings for those receiving care in the year can be found in the reference tables accompanying this report.
In both age groups, clients who were receiving long term support at the end of the year were most commonly in receipt of community care (83.7% of those aged 18 to 64 and 60.7% of those aged 65 and over).
Figure 15: Number of clients accessing long term support at the end of the year, by support setting and age group, 2018-19
Those aged 65 and over were much more likely to be receiving residential or nursing care at the end of the year than those aged 18 to 64, with 12.5% of clients in the 65 and over age group being in nursing care (compared to 2.5% of 18 to 64 year olds), and 26.8% in residential care (compared to 13.8% of 18 to 64 year olds).
Long term care expenditure by support setting
As seen in Figure 16 below, for both age groups, residential care accounted for the highest proportion of gross current expenditure.
However, when considering all elements of community care (consisting of direct payments, home care, supported living and other long-term care), this accounts for 47.3% of gross current expenditure on long term care, while residential care accounts for 36.7%.
Expenditure on nursing care (20.7%) and home care in the community (21.1%) were also key areas of expenditure for those aged 65 and over. Supported living (21.4%) and direct payments (17.1%) accounted for the second and third highest proportions respectively of expenditure (after residential care) for those aged 18 to 64.
Figure 16: Gross current expenditure on long term support by support setting and age group, 2018-19
In 2018-19 gross current expenditure on long term care increased by £674 million (4.8%), and this was split across support settings. Although increases in expenditure were noted in all support settings, supported living in the community increased the most both in monetary and percentage terms, by 14.3% (£227 million).
Figure 17: Gross current expenditure on long term support by support setting, 2017-18 and 2018-19
Primary support reason and long-term care
A primary support reason describes why the individual requires social care support. This is collected in both the activity and finance data collected by NHS Digital.
Some local authorities have reported difficulty in correctly allocating activity and expenditure across these categories, and this should be taken into consideration when analysing this data. Comparison of trends in the data, however, does provide useful insight into how long-term care is provided by local authorities.
Whereas ST-Max is predominantly provided to clients with a primary support reason of physical support, the picture in long term care is more varied. In particular, the most common primary support reason for the client needing support differs by age group.
As can be seen in Figure 18, for those aged 18 to 64 the most common reason for requiring support was learning disability (this was the primary support reason for 45.5% of clients receiving long term support in the year). The next most common support reasons were physical support (29.2%) and mental health support (20.0%).
Figure 18: Number of clients accessing long term support during the year, by primary support reason and age group, 2018-19
For those aged 65 and over the most common primary support reason was physical support (73.8%) followed by support for memory and cognition (13.0%).
Although the expenditure return does not include the Social Support primary support reason, examination of this data shows a similar trend to that of activity data. Physical Support accounted for the majority of gross current expenditure on those aged 65 and over (65.0%), while learning disability support accounted for 70.5% of expenditure on those aged 18 to 64.
Figure 19: Gross current expenditure on long term support, by primary support reason and age group, 2018-19
At England level, learning disability support has the highest unit costs for both those aged 18 to 64 and 65 and over. As seen in Figure 20, as care for those clients aged 18 to 64 is more likely to be due to a primary support reason of learning disability, these increased costs are likely to have more impact on overall unit costs for this age group.
When looking at the data for clients accessing services at year end, within the 18 to 64 age group, learning disability accounts for almost half (48.7%) of the activity by primary support reason. By support setting, 18-64 year olds with learning disabilities in a nursing setting make up only 16.0% of all clients accessing services at year end. This increases to 47.2% for clients in a community support setting and even further to 63.7% of those in a residential care setting.
As a result, residential unit costs tend to be higher than nursing costs for this age band, due to the increased expenditure associated with learning disability support, as seen in Figure 20.
What is a unit cost?
A unit cost is the average cost of providing services per week per person and is calculated as follows:
Unit Cost = (Total Expenditure – Grants to voluntary organisations) ÷ Total Activity (in weeks)
Please note: Unlike other figures in this report, unit costs are based on the total expenditure minus grants to voluntary organisations, not the Gross Current Expenditure. No income is excluded from the figure.
The activity data used in the unit cost calculation is collected as part of the ASC-FR return. Local authorities provide the number of weeks of care provided, which is calculated as follows:
Activity (Weeks) = (Hours of care provided in week ÷ Total hours in the week) multiplied by the number of weeks for which care was provided
The total hours in a week is based on a 24 hour day, and therefore 168 hours in a week.
Figure 20: Overview of weekly costs of care by primary support reason, 2018-19
Regional trends in long term care
The numbers of clients supported in long term care during the year varies regionally, as can be seen in Figure 21 below. This shows the number of clients receiving long term support in the year per 100,000 population by age group.
The North West Region has the highest number of clients aged 18 to 64 accessing long term support during the year, with 1,055 clients per 100,000 population. In the 65 and over age group the North East is highest with 7,315 clients per 100,000 population, closely followed by London with 7,045 clients.
From a local authority perspective, the three local authorities with the highest number of clients aged 65 and over accessing long term support per 100,000 are all in London. The London region now reports seven of the ten local authorities reporting the highest proportion of clients aged 65 and over supported per 100,000 population.
Figure 21: Number of clients accessing long term support during the year per 100,000 adults, by age group and local authority, 2018-19
As referenced at the start of the long term section, long term activity and long term expenditure are not directly comparable
See glossary in Appendix C
Please see the Data Quality summary for further detail