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Homecare 30th January 2024

The Home Care Association Conference 2024

By Sophie Hibbert

The Home Care Association Conference is a special event for home care providers. It brings together Association members from across the UK to share the experiences and insights. This makes it a unique opportunity to meet with a wide range of providers, suppliers and key decision makers in home care. We have been eagerly awaiting this opportunity to connect directly with the home care sector and show everyone why we’re so enthusiastic about Nourish Community.

The theme of this conference was ‘The Future of Homecare’, something we at Nourish Care are very excited to be a part of. The day certainly lived up to its billing. Politics, commissioning, and workforce development were just some of the topics we covered, and thanks to the openness and understanding of the attendees there was plenty of positivity to take back home with us. 

The homecare community

The Home Care Association is the premier organisation for home care providers in the UK. Its members include providers of all sizes and locations, and their conferences bring these members together to great effect. Home care can at times feel like the ‘little brother’ of the ‘little brother’ in social care, overlooked and underappreciated. 

We know the reality is far from the truth, as demand for home care continues to grow year on year in the UK. People want to be able to live long, fulfilling lives, in their own homes and communities. We relished the chance to speak to so many amazing providers about exactly how they can help the people who utilise their services achieve this ambition. These discussions are crucial to both our understanding of the realities of providing home care, and the future developments we prioritise for our own system.

Headline conversations

The big attraction for events like ‘The Future of Homecare’ are the talks. The headline acts if you will, ready to light up the stage with their passion and perspective. We kicked things off with a bang this year as the HomeCare Association’s CEO Dr Jane Townson OBE was joined by Strategy Governance and Policy Consultant Dr Anna Dixon MBE. Dr Dixon recently chaired a Church of England Commission on ‘Reimagining Care’, drawing upon her wealth of experience which includes being the Chief Executive of Ageing Better and Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst at the Department of Health to name just a few of her previous roles. The talk highlighted the deficit of awareness around social care and the fact that we still lack enough ‘political salience’ to bring about much needed reforms. Work is being undertaken to try and address this issue, especially by fantastic organisations like Social Care Future but a lot of effort remains ahead of us. 

Practical advice

The other talks followed a similar trend of practical insight and experience being combined with actionable results. ‘Commissioning for Better Outcomes’ was a fascinating panel delving into the challenges of commissioning. Thea Stein, CEO of Nuffield Trust revealing a long held suspicion for many in the room that ‘The NHS does not understand Social Care…we are working through it but it is very slow’. Tim Ryley, Accountable Officer for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board shared some tips on connecting with your local ICB as a care provider, finding the right contact and the benefits of going through the Place Committee where possible.

The talks on the future of caring and workforce were similarly dappled with actionable advice. A particular point of interest for us was when George MacGinnis, Healthy Ageing Challenge Director for UK Research and Innovation pointed out that; “Tech can be complicated and designed at care providers rather than with them.” An important lesson for all suppliers and one that speaks to the mission statement at the heart of Nourish Care. 

Joining the Discussion

The Home Care Association Conference is not just about coming and listening, but about taking part so you can be sure to take something back home with you. The morning and afternoon workshops covered a wide range of topics and offered something for everyone. Perhaps too much at times as it was difficult to settle on which workshop to attend!

Business growth, financial management, technology applications, recruitment, retention and PR were all up for discussion. These talks were led by people who had an in-depth understanding of the topic, but driven by the participants. The interactive sessions further reinforcing the engagement and community that makes being a part of the Home Care Association so worthwhile.

At the end of the day

Our team feels energised by our time at The Kia Oval and ready to embrace what the future holds for home care. We could spend thousands of words going through all of the great insights, conversations and people from the conference. (Not to mention the food, quite a spread) However some things you have to experience yourself to truly appreciate and ‘The Future of Homecare’ was certainly one of them. So make sure you don’t miss out on next year, because we can’t wait to go back!

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