Categories: ADR Scotland, Growing Old

20 May 2020

Multimorbidity and social care use

One of the benefits of using linked administrative data for research is the ability to address questions about the interactions between services. Recent ADR Scotland research by Dr David Henderson has focused on the links between health and social care services, which is an area of high policy importance in the UK but without a strong empirical evidence-base. 

“Our unique dataset is allowing us to investigate interactions between health and social care services on a scale that was previously unimaginable, and which offers huge insights for policy.” David Henderson, Research Fellow, SCADR

ADR Scotland’s continuing support following the creation of a large dataset has enabled insights into interactions between these services as well as learning more about the nature of social care data. This work has been cited in a recent report as part of a systemic review published by the Office for Statistics Regulation, investigating the nature and quality of social care statistics in the UK. This work has contributed to the understanding of the coverage of adult social care data, notably in Scotland, and will continue to contribute to debates and drive forward data improvements in this area. 

The dataset itself linked the Social Care Survey, collected annually by the Scottish Government, to Community Prescribing and Unscheduled Care health datasets. It also contains sociodemographic information for the circa 1.1 million people over the age of 65 included in the cohort. This dataset anticipates novel findings describing the relationships between multimorbidity and social care use and the interactions between social care receipt and unscheduled health care use. Future work aims to further understand the geographic variations in the receipt of social care. 

This work directly addresses the concerns about gaps in knowledge regarding older people with multiple health conditions and frailty in two ways. Firstly, by describing empirical clinical findings that add to the evidence-base, and secondly by reporting on the quality of novel administrative data to inform future research and our public sector partners. 

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