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Using a ‘wellbeing’ cost-effectiveness approach to improve resource allocation in social care

Forder, Julien E. and Fernández, José-Luis (2015) Using a ‘wellbeing’ cost-effectiveness approach to improve resource allocation in social care. Project report. Personal Social Services Research Unit, Canterbury and London (KAR id:47609)


The promotion of wellbeing is the newly-stated guiding principle for the long-term care (social care) system in England. It signals a shift away from a focus on care need ‘deficits’ approach. Such a change in perspective has the potential to substantially alter how public care systems operate. The practical challenges are significant, both in the interpretation of wellbeing goals and in determining how the care system might be configured to achieve them.

The main aim of this paper is to contrast a needs-led resource allocation system with one using a maximising wellbeing approach; that is, one based on: measuring the wellbeing consequences of using services and applying the principles of cost-effectiveness and opportunity cost. As a precursor, the paper also describes how a maximising wellbeing approach might be applied in the case of long-term care.

We argue that in theory a maximising wellbeing approach with full information will produce greater total wellbeing improvement for the same budget than a needs-based system. In practice, the comparison will depend on: (a) whether we can actually measure wellbeing in a way that is consistent with the policy goals; (b) the availability of cost-effectiveness information; and (c) the decision rules used to implement a maximising wellbeing approach.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Project report)
Projects: Quality and outcomes of person-centred care (QORU)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Jane Dennett
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 15:05 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 04:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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