LSE Health and Social Care, London School of Economics and Political Science, London
Internationally, policy makers and those responsible for decision making and allocation of resources are putting increased emphasis on understanding the impact of publicly-funded services on individuals, in order to target limited resources effectively. There is particular interest in measuring the impact of services on people’s experiences and quality of life, but the impact or ‘outcome’ of long-term care is not straightforward to establish because of the compensatory nature of long-term care and characteristics of those who use services. Despite its detractors, the quality adjusted life year (QALY) has proved a powerful tool in health economics research. However, current QALY indicators are based on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures that do not distinguish the impact of such interventions. The presentation reports on the development of a preference-weighted measure of social care outcome, part of the Adult Social Care Outcome Toolkit (ASCOT) which is intended to provide the basis for the equivalent to a QALY for social care. ASCOT has attracted widespread interest and from 2011 ASCOT items are being included in annual national Adult Social Care Survey and play a key role in the new Adult Social Care Outcomes framework, potentially providing a valuable source of data for future research. However, there are many challenges ahead if the measure is to fulfill its potential.