Book review: Saving Social Care
Saving Social Care by Neil Eastwood
Populations around the world are ageing as people live for longer and have fewer children. In the UK, the 2021 census showed that 18.6% of the population were aged 65 years or older, compared with 16.4% in 2011.
All this means that we need – and are going to need – far more carers than before, yet the trend is going in the opposite direction. Carers are leaving the profession in droves, exhausted by working through the COVID-19 pandemic and, in some cases, on lower pay than they would get on the tills at ALDI.
Given the situation, Neil Eastwood’s guide to finding and keeping carers, initially published in 2017 (and with an expanded edition publishing on June 22nd), could not be more necessary.
Recruiting, sourcing, and retaining
Split into three parts, the book first takes us through recruiting well, which covers the headwinds facing social care recruitment, choosing your ideal target worker, marketing to active job-seekers, and changes to pre-screening and interview checks.
The second part focuses on sourcing creatively, and it’s this section of the book that I found most eye-opening. Neil covers how to find applicants online amid a melee of Indeed adverts, and leveraging your in-house networks, but he also explores the power of community networking.
This includes reaching out to faith-based groups, family carer groups, volunteers, and animal-lovers, as there is an overlap between these groups and people predisposed to caring.
Neil also suggests targeting interest groups with mature and/or female members, for the same reason – Women’s Institute groups, local historical societies, book clubs and even advertising on dating websites for mature singles. It turns out that thinking outside the box can pay real dividends.
The third part of the book focuses on retaining, which is just as crucial as recruitment – there’s no point having tens of new joiners if they leave as soon as they join. In this section, Neil discusses why care work is a revolving door, and suggests 10 ‘quick wins’ to improve your recruitment as well as 10 long-term improvements to make.
Throughout the book, Neil leverages real data to inform his insights, which crucially means that care managers have real evidence that his advice is worth following.
Neil can tell you what works, and what’s a waste of time – and with both time and money very tight at the moment in the care sector, that’s a valuable thing.
Check out the book, and come along to the Care Managers Show to see Neil speak on two panels in the Home Care and Care Operational Excellence streams. He’ll also be found with the Care Workers Charity, which the profits of his book support, at stand A23, signing copies – so stop by and say hello.
Caring Times senior conference producer Teresa Zargouni reviews the American surgeon and writer Atul Gawande’s book on society’s approach to ageing and mortality.
Alice Jones, Caring Times head of digital content, reviews the social care sector’s recruitment and retention bible.
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NMT head of digital content Alice Jones reviews Pope Lonergan’s memoir of his time as a care home assistant.