Adult placements and person-centred approaches
The current situation: Facts and figures
In a recent study(6), Sylvia Barnard found that there were 130 adult placement schemes in England supporting around 5,000 carers. These carers provide services to more than 6,500 service users comprising:
- 71 per cent people with learning difficulties
- 17 per cent older people
- 8 per cent people with mental health problems
- 4 per cent people with physical disabilities.
The survey also found that local authorities run 86 per cent of schemes, whilst 14 per cent are managed by charities. Most carers are white women over the age of 35. The survey calls adult placement a 'valued model of social care', 'increasingly recognised as a valuable and flexible service option'.
Although the majority of carers and users are of white ethnic origin (85 per cent), comparisons with census data 'suggest a higher representation of people from ethnic minorities among adult placement carers than the general population'. This suggests:
Some minority ethnic groups are experiencing difficulties in accessing adult placement carers'.
Most schemes (83 per cent) offer long-term care, and about half provide short-term or respite placements.
Long-term care is the most common form of service provision for people with learning disabilities (34.9 per cent) and for people with mental health needs (24.7 per cent), while older people and those with physical disabilities are most likely to receive short-term care or day services in the service user's home.
Qualification levels of staff compare favourably with the rest of the social care sector. About 80 per cent of adult placement workers already have an appropriate care qualification. However, the majority of the 130 adult placement scheme managers are currently unqualified and only 12 per cent of carers have met the Skills for Care induction standards (although the majority were approved before the introduction of these standards). All schemes report difficulties accessing training for carers.