Last week I wrote about the Oxfordshire Growth Board’s Infrastructure Report in which it looks at the infrastructure required to support the planned housing growth up to 2040.
I focused on the required growth in the number of health centres (an additional 22,000 sq.m. across Oxfordshire) the number of GPs (an increase of at least 133 full time or 42%) and the number of acute hospital beds.
This week I want to focus on Adult Social Care and facilities for those people unable to care for themselves.
The Vale is reported as having 221 care beds, 686 nursing care beds and 111 extra care beds.
In the Wantage area we have several care homes: St Katherines (76 beds); Stirlings (40 beds); Sanctuary Care (50 beds); Framland (19 beds), Richmond Village, Letcombe Regis (53 beds and additional assisted living apartments); the Grange Care Centre, Stanford in the Vale (49 beds), and several smaller care facilities.
There are many other retirement apartments in the area and planning permission has been granted for a new 65 bed care home and 50 extra care apartments on Grove Road, Wantage; 60 extra care apartments on Great Western Park; 45 extra care apartments in Kingston Bagpuize; and approximately 60 extra care beds on Grove Airfield.
Between 2016 and 2040 the Infrastructure Report suggests that increases of 974 care beds, 674 nursing care beds and 824 extra care beds will be required in the Vale.
These planning approvals will help.
Oxfordshire’s Joint Health & Wellbeing Board have an aspiration to shift the focus of care from nursing homes to the assisted living (extra care) approach in which people maintain as much independence as possible.
The Board emphasises the projected ageing population within the County, and the likely pressure older people (aged 85 years and over) will place on social care services.
While ageing affects individuals differently, and some older people will have few health care needs and be able to live independently, others will rely on long term residential care.
What the Report fails to mention at all is the need for respite care.
We all know friends who care for people in the community who would otherwise occupy some of these facilities.
The ability to have regular respite from this, often 24 hour, caring enables people to continue much longer without resorting to residential care.
This is also important.