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Demand for Long Term Care

How much will demand for long-term care rise over the coming decades?

A new report, Demand for Long-Term Care for Old People in England to 2031, written by LSE and University of Kent academics, has found that the number of residential and nursing home places in England will need to expand considerably to keep pace with demographic pressures.

The report, written by Raphael Wittenberg, Linda Pickard, Adelina Comas-Herrera, Bleddyn Davies and Robin Darton, is published in the journal Health Statistics Quarterly, Winter 2001, published by the Office of National Statistics.

The article outlines the methodology and results of a model developed by the authors at the Personal Social Services Research Unit at LSE and the University of Kent. The model makes projections of demand for long-term care for people aged 65 and over to 2031 that are based on current policies and are not forecasts.

Key findings include

  • To keep pace with demographic pressures over the next 30 years, residential and nursing home places will need to expand by around 65%, and numbers of home care recipients by around 48%. This base projection assumes no changes in the health of older people.
  • Long-term care expenditure would need to arise by around 148% in real terms between 1996 and 2031 to meet demographic pressures and allow for real rises in care costs of 1% per year and 1.5% per year for health care.
  • These projections are highly sensitive to the projected growth in the numbers of older people, to whether there are changes in the proportion of older people with disabilities, and to assumed real rises in unit costs of care. They assume no change in policy and make no allowance for changes in public expenditure.

To read the Health Statistics Quarterly, Winter 2001, please see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/hsq1101.pdf|

For more details, contact Adelina Comas-Herrera, PSSRU, LSE Health and Social Care, on 020 7955 7306 or email a.comas@lse.ac.uk|

9 November 2001

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