Extra care housing, where accommodation and care for older people are integrated, could provide a partial answer to the chronic and increasing shortage of care workers’ time, according to business management consultant Kingsbury Hill Fox.

Kingsbury maintains that extra care housing, also known as assisted living or retirement communities, means care workers don’t have to travel between assignments, avoiding wasting 20% of a care worker’s time travelling

The company also contends that it makes care more responsive and more flexible. It said that a care worker can pop in for a couple of minutes to check up on an extra care resident in a way they couldn’t if it meant a 20-minute deviation from their journey to the next older person.

Kingsbury also affirmed that while the current shortage of people providing personal care is severe it’s projected to get much worse.

Kingsbury’s report compared the future supply of care workers against the fast-growing demand from older people, using population data from the Office for National Statistics and workforce profiles from Skills for Care. These indicate there will be a 28% population increase of over 75s by 2029, In addition, it estimated that looking forward 25 years, 3% more care workers will have to support 73% more people aged 75-plus.

Philip Mickelborough, author of the report, said: “The solutions have to include broadening the range of people who wish to become care workers and using care worker time more efficiently. Which is where extra care housing comes to the fore.

Homecare workers spend on average 20% of their time travelling between service users: more in rural areas and less in urban ones. Extra care housing removes this travel time between service users, giving each worker 25% more time to spend caring for older people.”