Innovation call to address domiciliary care workforce issues

May 11th 2021

The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), South West AHSN and Health Education England South West are calling for innovative solutions that are ready for adoption (or adaptation) and spread, in order to support the domiciliary care workforce.

The UK domiciliary care workforce is under huge pressure; even before the pandemic, domiciliary social care providers were reporting a 46% staff turnover rate in the South West alone, and these pressures have been accentuated further by COVID-19.

This challenge is looking for proven solutions that can support this vital resource. From digital apps, new technology and toolkits to changes in services, systems and processes, the already proven solution(s) will provide support in the areas of supply, skills, leadership, new ways of working or new roles.

Innovators can apply for a share of the £100,000 funding to test solutions over 12 months in domiciliary care settings, and will receive support from the two AHSNs in finding an organisation to host the trial, with the opportunity to work with a project manager and gather real world evidence. Depending on the results, there is also potential support for regional and national scale up via the AHSN Network.

The solution may come from within the health and social care sector or outside of it from industry and will be able to prove a positive and measurable impact on workforce indicators, such as number of domiciliary care workers, satisfaction levels, sickness absence, wellbeing, turnover rates, skills and confidence, leadership, productivity or diversity and inclusion.

Domiciliary Care Workforce Challenge: What’s in it for innovators?

Natasha Swinscoe, CEO of the West of England AHSN, says:
“This is such an important challenge. The demand for the provision of health and social care within people’s own homes has never been greater, but there are very high pressures on this workforce. We need innovative solutions to help solve and support some of the wide-ranging issues in this sector and I’m excited to see what could be out there.”

Debi Reilly, South West Regional Director, Health Education England, adds:
“Having the right staff in place, with the right skills, is essential to ensure that domiciliary care services can operate effectively. It is demanding work, both physically and emotionally, and staff are often working remotely and in silo and under huge time pressures. Opportunities for training and career progression is limited. How can we better support and look after people working in domiciliary care? How can we provide more opportunity for learning and development, especially when staff are so busy?”

Nikki Taylor, Programme Manager, South West AHSN, concludes:
“We’re looking forward to hearing from a variety of innovative organisations with ideas to improve the capacity, capability and wellbeing of the domiciliary care workforce. We’re casting the net wide to attract a range of products and service-based solutions; this could include innovations for managing staff rotas, transport and logistics, information and record sharing to training and career development, personal wellbeing such as mental health resources, gym memberships and peer-to-peer or employee support networks. We hope to be inspired by what’s out there now and excited by the potential for spreading innovation in this sector. So, if you have a proven solution, then we want to hear from you!”

The call for innovations closes at midday on Monday 31 May 2021. Visit the West of England AHSN website for more information and to apply.

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