The 2014-15 version of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework, published last week, has a few new measures, some altered ones and updates on research into future metrics.
The first update is that the group of people measured about take-up of personal budgets will change. At present the number of people receiving self-directed support is measured as a percentage of all clients who use community-based services and carers receiving carer-specific services.
In 2014/-5 that group will narrow to people who receive long-term support as this is the group for whom self-directed support is most relevant. As currently, it will measure people receiving self-directed support generally and the smaller group of people who receive direct payments.
But the indicator will be split into two measures – one focusing on users and another on carers – to show progress on personalisation separately for the two groups. The measures will use snapshot at the end of the financial year, rather than full-year data to “better reflect the progress made on personalisation at the end of the year,” the report said.
Other new measures include an indicator of service integration. An update on progress of work on the measure will be included in the ASCOF handbook of definitions and the final definition of it will be included in autumn 2014.
The calculation of the proportion of service users and carers who find it easy to find information about services will change in 2014-15 to separate the two groups.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre and Department of Health are working on questions for a safeguarding measure which will be piloted next year. It would be a national measure initially but the local results could be given to councils to use as a benchmark.
The Department of Health also decided not to include some proposed changes to the ASCOF. They included a measure of the proportion of people receiving long-term support who were able to achieve personal goals. A study by the Quality and Outcomes Research Unit for the government found a number of problems, including that it would be too difficult to do via a postal survey and that the questions could end up being similar to those in the Adult Social Care Survey, an annual survey of council service users. But the ASCOF report said councils might want to develop local measures. It said the Quality and Outcomes Research Unit’s report could help councils develop a methodology to gather this information.
The Department of Health is also researching some new measures or changes to existing questions which may be included in the future.
Work is being done to develop a new measure of loneliness, although it will not be in the 2014-15 framework. However the ASCOF report said the measure would need to reflect that many of the factors affecting individual levels of loneliness are outside the control of local government.
The government has also commissioned research to see whether there is a way of isolating the impact that social care has on people’s quality of life.
It is considering whether to develop a new survey of short-term service users about their outcomes and the quality of services they receive.
Work is also being carried out on measures of the outcomes of people diagnosed with dementia. They include adding memory and cognition into the primary reasons why people were permanently admitted to residential and nursing homes. The ASCOF report also said there would be work on establishing the proportion of people with dementia living at home using GP records, using the annual Carers’ Survey to report national key outcomes for people with dementia and using the NHS Outcomes Framework to report quality of life nationally if local measures cannot be developed.