HOME care must be radically reshaped to provide a service which is fit for the future, Oxford researchers have said.

The Institute of Public Care (IPC), based at Oxford Brookes University, has warned that if the current ‘fragmented’ system does not change soon, it could collapse.

Where the Heart Is… A Review of the Older People’s Care Market in England is the first to be completed by the IPC’s new Market Analysis Centre which launched earlier this month.

Home care is delivered to keep a person in their own home and out of costly acute hospital beds.

It can include support with domestic tasks, shopping, home maintenance, personal care, social activities, rehabilitation and recovery and support for people who are dying.

Britain’s ageing population means the private purchase of home care is increasing, and is likely to grow further with the use of a direct payments system which allows people to choose their care with a personal budget.

But it is carried out by a range of different organisations, including health, housing or social care authorities.

IPC director Prof Keith Moultrie said: “Understanding how the market performs and behaves is essential if we are to ensure that public money is invested wisely.”

The IPC is hosting a live online discussion from 2pm tomorrow at ipc.brookes.ac.uk/services/mac