Bite-sized social care: Who provides social care?

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Part of What is social care and how does it work?

Social care is delivered by a wide range of organisations and professionals, and within families and communities. More people work in adult social care than you might think, but the number of unpaid carers dwarfs both the health and social care workforce put together. In this video we break down the numbers, and take a look at what people providing social care actually do.

This is the second video in our 'Bite-sized social care' series intended to help explain social care in England: what it is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services.

More people work in adult social care than you might think. There are thousands of organisations all across the country employing lots and lots of people. What do they do?

You’ve got social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, or registered managers and supervisors. But the vast majority of people that work in adult social care are care workers for home care agencies or in care homes, residential or nursing.

Most people who provide care aren’t paid. People who look after an older, ill or disabled family member, friend or partner are called carers – although many wouldn’t describe themselves this way. There are almost six million carers in England; more than both the health and social care workforce put together.

Carers provide all sorts of practical support: help cooking meals, help with the washing, just keeping someone company; they also help with benefits and other financial matters. Sometimes they help with personal care.

The impact of caring is not just dictated by the number of hours of care provided. If you’re working full time, providing care while looking after young children, or having to travel long distances, then providing even just a few hours of care a week can have a serious impact on your life.

Care is delivered all around the country by different workers and organisations; but also in families and communities. Social care is not a term that you hear in everyday conversation, but it’s all around us.

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