A government-funded Nuffield Trust study found a statistically significant inverse relationship between spending on social and hospital care for people in the last year of life: the higher the social care spending, in all age groups, the lower the spending on hospital care. Suggesting that social care may help prevent hospital admission.
The study anonymously linked the individual health and social care records of 73,243 people who died across seven areas from 2007-10, and compared patterns of hospital and council-funded social care use in the last year of life.
Here are some of the findings:
27.8% of people used council-funded social care and 89.6% hospital care in the last year of life.
There were considerable variations in rates of social care use between areas.
Total hospital costs for the sample were double total social care costs.
But for those who use a service, unit social care costs were £12,500 in the last year compared with £7,400 for hospital care.
Hospital costs per person rose sharply in the last few months of life while social care costs rose gradually
The researchers found that the use of social care at the end of life varied between conditions (for example people with dementia, falls and stroke used considerably more than those with cancer) and between local authorities, even when adjusted for age and sex. Individuals with the highest social care costs tended to have low average hospital costs.
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