Ruth McDonald

Host university: Newcastle University

PhD research project: Market shaping and the supply of home care for older people in English and Welsh communities: a qualitative study

Project summary: Paid carers play an important role in helping older adults with care and support needs to remain living in their own homes. Yet it is increasingly difficult to meet the demand for home care particularly in relation to care for older adults.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure that there is a wide variety of good quality social care services available for people who need them. They are engaged in various initiatives aimed at tackling the shortfall in care supply.

My research examines these approaches to the issue in England and Wales. I am doing this by talking to people involved in organising, facilitating and providing care, as well as local authority staff whose jobs concern care and support. I am also talking to groups representing users of home care services, as well as other organisations whose work impacts on home care.

My aim is to understand how local authorities are responding and what impact they are having on care supply. My research will also examine reasons why local authorities vary in response to the challenges they face on home care supply. This will provide greater understanding of the problems hampering home care provision for older adults. I am also looking at things which appear to be helpful in tackling these problems.

I hope that the findings will lead to improvements in the supply of home care services in the future.

Background and research interests: I am an experienced health services researcher having had a career in academia for many years. My first PhD involved looking at decision making in the NHS, using ethnographic methods.  Subsequently my research took the form of large-scale mixed method evaluations of aspects of health policy. Much of my research focused on financial incentives for quality in the UK and beyond. Before entering academia, I was an NHS manager for 11 years.

Expected PhD completion date: April 2024.

I am keen to talk to anybody who has experience that is relevant to the topic of home care services. Please email me if you have views and experiences that you are willing to share with me.

Contact: [email protected]