Whether it’s helping people get home after a hospital stay or supporting the wellbeing of those in need, health and social care work together to make our world a better place. Their intertwined services have led to the system becoming more popular each year, with the majority of care professionals now working across both sectors in new and exciting ways.
To ensure that health and social care systems are fully integrated, it’s essential to first understand the population’s most pressing needs. This is best done through a needs-based approach that looks at a person’s overall well-being, not just their medical condition. This can help to avoid the over-simplification of disabilities through a medical model that only considers a disability’s impact on mobility.
Next, governments must integrate health and social care pathways at an operational level. This is where the most significant opportunities for improvement lie. One way of doing this is by using a case manager to carry out an initial assessment and act as a single point of contact for coordinating all of a person’s health and social care providers. This approach is used in countries such as England, France, and Sweden.
Other options for operational integration include enabling the use of community-based resources to identify and respond to a person’s social risk or unmet needs. This could be achieved through programs that empower family members and volunteers to become informal caregivers. Finally, the system should allow for a broad spectrum of providers to offer health and social care services, including private-sector and nonprofit entities, which can offer more specialized services. health and social care