The term ‘Community Care’ should be seen as an umbrella label covering a wide range of high-quality supportive services that are offered and delivered by authorities such as the NHS, social services, public health, housing support personnel and social security departments.
This type of care allows people in need the opportunity to live independently in their own homes and is delivered through various state, private and third-party providers.
Community care should be viewed as an overarching support system across the UK, although it must be said that its structure and effectiveness still have regional variances.
In attempts to ensure a more cohesive service there have been various government and care organisation policy changes aimed at providing more consistent care into the community. Such initiatives have included moving away from large, centralised institutions and taking them nearer to homes in general.
The BMA’s role:
The British Medical Association (BMA) has a committee on community care which plays a significant role when it comes to driving initiatives forward in this area.
Being a multi-practice group, it consists of GPs, specialists in the field of elderly care medicine, psychiatry, paediatrics, public health professionals, those involved in community medicine, palliative care and doctors in training.
By putting such expertise together, the aim is to produce far more efficient and effective care initiatives.
4 major strands of community care:
We will touch on just 4 strands of community care that are certainly challenging areas, but also vital to the well-being of those in need.
Due to the intricate and in-depth nature of each sub-topic, these explanations are overviews only. For those with specific interests, deeper investigation should be undertaken. While an abundance of information is available in pamphlets and online, you should not hesitate to speak openly with your chosen community care workers or GP on any issues of concern.
Adult social care:
The core purpose of adult support and care is to help those in need achieve the outcomes of what matters to them in their personal life.
This make the understanding of personal experience from those receiving care and support crucial to health and social workers involved in delivering such care. This experience needs to be taken on board and, where relevant, acted upon.
The positives should be maintained and enhanced and any major shortfalls addressed.
The largest single source of burden in terms of disease in the UK relates to mental health problems. Whilst this must be a priority for those responsible, it is no easy task and it needs to be acknowledged that significant challenges relate to the access of mental health services.
One effective way in which mental health issues are being effectively addressed is through community care in a person’s home surroundings.
The most common approach to such treatment and care is delivered through community mental health teams (CMHTs) or via departments of the social services.
NHS – Constant pressure, constant change:
There is little doubt of the constant pressures placed on the NHS. Factors include advances in medical technology as well as regular policy changes. Add to this a constantly increasing, ageing population and its burden of disease, and it should be clear that these challenges cannot easily be overcome.
However, it is felt that constant reconfiguration, flexible service restructuring and delivery of care will go some way to ensuring care in the community is being most effectively deployed.
Community care shows professionals do care:
There is little doubt that those involved with community care initiatives have a passion and belief in their work, and that the current thinking of bringing care closer to people’s home environment is one that must be maintained.