Finding and funding social care: a qualitative study of the experiences of self-funders
The purpose of this project is to understand
self-funders' experiences of finding and funding social care, and to create an online resource
of peer experiences.
If you would like to take part in this research and tell us about your experiences of paying for social care, please contact Lyndsay Lindley.
SPRU research team
- Dr Sara Ryan, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford
- Dr Emily Heavey, Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Huddersfield
- Dr Louise Overton, Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, University of Birmingham
- Sharon Calline, City of York Council
- Adam Barnett, The Dipex Charity, Oxford
Background to the research
People may become frail as they get older, or have one or more health conditions that mean they struggle with everyday activities. The term social care covers a wide range of support for such people; some are eligible for support funded by their local council whilst others are not. People not eligible for council-funded support are called 'self-funders'.
About two out of every five people living in a care home are self-funders and one in five people receiving care at home. We don't know much about the experiences of self-funders, but we do know they find it difficult to find information about care and paying for care. Self-funders often rely on asking friends and family for advice, but these friends and family typically don't understand the social care system or have much experience with it either.
The purpose of the research
We aim to find out more about self-funders' experiences of finding and funding social care. We will create a website containing written information and film clips about these experiences. The website can be used to find out about a whole range of different people's experiences, far wider than talking only to friends and family. A website already exists, called Healthtalk.org, which contains written information and film clips about people's experiences with a wide range of health conditions. We will base our new website, Socialcaretalk.org, on this existing website.
What we will do
- Firstly, talk to five small groups of the public and relevant professionals, such as those from local council, NHS and voluntary organisations. The purpose will be to find out how, when and why people would use the website we will create. These discussions will also help us make sure we publicise the website appropriately.
- Secondly, interview 40 self-funders or their relatives about their experiences of finding and funding care. We will film those interviews if people are happy for us to do so. We will then look in detail at all the interviews and group people's experiences together into shared experiences. For example, a shared experience might be about knowing where to get information from. We expect to have about 20-25 main groups of experiences. We will write an overview of each experience. The website production team (called DIPEx) will then create the Socialcaretalk website which will contain these overviews and films.
- Thirdly, ask people who took part in the group discussions in the first stage of the project to test the website before it goes live.
Two relatives of self-funders have helped develop the application, provided written and verbal comments, and co-written this plain English summary.