Introduction

The project built upon and extended the research team’s previous work on estimating future need for social care services among adults with learning disabilities. An update of that work had suggested a sustained growth over the time period 2011–30, with estimated average annual increases in the number of service users in this group varying from 1.2% to 5.1% depending on assumptions (average 3.2%).

The most critical source of uncertainty in the previous model was in the validity of the estimates of the likely eligibility for social care services for new entrants at different levels of ‘need’, especially for potential new entrants with less severe learning disabilities. Those estimates had previously been developed through consultation with relevant stakeholders (primarily disabled people’s organisations and field agencies).

Objectives

The project’s aim was to estimate changes in the need for social care services for adults with disabilities in England between 2012 and 2030.

Methods

The team collected information on the assessed level of eligibility for samples of children aged 14–16 identified as having special educational needs (SEN) and explored the relationship between SEN and disability. The project used the new field-generated estimates of eligibility to:

  1. update the team’s previous estimates of future need for adult social care services for people with learning disabilities; and
  2. extended this work to estimate future need for adult social care services for people with physical disabilities (including sensory impairment) in the age range 19–30.

Findings

  • All the scenarios included in the modelling suggested sustained growth in the need for social care
    services for adults with physical or learning disabilities over the time period 2012–30
  • For younger adults with physical disabilities, compound annual growth rates in the number of users
    of adult social care vary from 1.8% to 6.5% depending on assumptions. These projections would involve providing support to between an additional 6,000 to 46,000 young adults with physical disabilities over the next ten years
  • A ‘no growth’ scenario in the number of users of adult social care services for young adults with
    physical disabilities could only be achieved by either deeming some current users as ineligible for social care services or by rationing access to services to young adults with physical disabilities with ‘critical’ need and 61% of those with ‘substantial’ need
  • For adults with learning disabilities, compound annual growth rates in the number of users of adult social care vary from 2.0% to 2.7% depending on assumptions. These estimates would involve providing support to between an additional 37,000 to 52,000 adults with learning disabilities over the next ten years
  • A ‘no growth’ scenario in the number of users of adult social care services for people with learning
    disabilities could only be achieved by either deeming some current users as ineligible for social care services or by rationing access to services to young people with learning disabilities with ‘critical’ need and 25% of those with substantial need
  • A number of factors that would have an impact on future need could not be taken into account in
    the modelling. These included: effects due to international migration; changes in the incidence of disability over time; and changes in mortality rates among people with disabilities over time.
The future need for social care services for adults with disabilities in England 2012–30
( https://www.sscr.nihr.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/SSCR-research-findings_RF005.pdf )
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