Commissioning home care for older people: scoping the evidence

Jasper R, Hughes J, Roberts A, Chester H, Davies S, Challis D

Journal of Long-term Care 2019, November, 176—193

Available online 25 Nov 2019


Many people over the age of 65 receive support from home care providers to enable them to continue to live at home. In the UK, local authorities (England, Wales and Scotland) and Health and Social Care Trusts (Northern Ireland) commission these support services. However, little is known about these arrangements.

To address this knowledge gap through identifying the lessons from research for commissioners of home care for older people.

A scoping review was undertaken to extrapolate the lessons from research for future practice. Searches were conducted in 2016/17 and the analysis was completed 2017/18. Electronic and manual searches of UK literature were undertaken using distinct terms to investigate the people, organisations and processes intrinsic to commissioning home care for older people.

From a total of 1,819 papers and government reports, 22 met the inclusion criteria, indicative of a limited body of knowledge. A variety of research methods and designs were included with mixed methods most frequently used. Four lessons were identified relating to: the marketisation of home care; the future of care at home; promoting integration with local partners in commissioning home care; and areas for future research.

The focus on research evidence may have meant that potentially interesting insights to inform future commissioning strategies from conceptual articles were omitted from the review.

Understanding the complexities of market management in commissioning home care for older people is still at an early stage of development. This review provides evidence to inform its future development of value to policy makers and practitioners.