A new WISERD paper draws attention to how geographical approaches can contribute to an understanding of inequalities in access to nursing and residential care places in Wales.
This research has been carried out by WISERD co-directors, Professor Gary Higgs and Dr Mitchel Langford, along with WISERD Associate, Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of South Wales and recently appointed member of the Welsh Government’s National Care Service – Expert Group.
Data used relate to the situation in March 2020 and thus largely pre-date the pandemic. The maps developed during the course of this research will act as a benchmark to understand the potential impact of COVID-19 and the impacts of wider developments on the provision of residential care homes in Wales.
Such research findings can be examined in relation to long-standing demographic and health trends, and the types of financial pressures facing the sector that were the focus of much of the literature in the years leading up to the pandemic and which are likely to be even more relevant in subsequent years.
The use of accessibility models enables disparities in care home provision within localised areas to be better explored, thereby helping planners and policymakers to identify and respond to potential inequalities in provision. In addition, care home providers could also benefit from approaches that help guide the types of provision required to meet local community needs and respond to demographic trends.
This research also has the potential to contribute to wider conversations regarding the transformation of care in our communities and in particular the spatial implications of a potential shift from residential forms of care to care at home for many more people than are currently being supported.