The health and social care sector encompasses services that support the treatment, control or prevention of disease, illness, injury or disability. It also includes the provision of community services to help people manage their lives and live more independently. This includes residential care, home care and domiciliary care, as well as community support and reablement services.
While there are a number of different ways you can receive health and social care, there is one overarching goal – to improve your quality of life. To do this, both systems need to work together. Integrated health and social care enables healthcare professionals to understand your needs, provide the best possible care and give you the information you need.
Across the US, policymakers and community-based organizations have implemented programs to integrate health and social care. Examples include screening patients for social risk factors at primary care clinics; building new cross-sector partnerships; financing community services with health system dollars; and sharing data between the two sectors.
However, despite these efforts, barriers between health and social care continue to exist. Among other things, funding and accountability concerns (e.g., a lack of long-term return on investment) make it difficult to justify collaborations, particularly when returns accrue to investors rather than the community. Furthermore, some community-based organizations fear that their reputations could be damaged by working with health systems. Other obstacles include the use of legal obligations or service frameworks to compel collaboration, and the absence of a common underlying philosophy. health and social care