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Sustainability in terms of resource management in adult care

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to analyse the use of sustainable resources within adult services, with particular reference to your own service.

Sustainable development involves providing high-quality, personalised and cost-effective healthcare services whilst balancing positive social, economic and environmental outcomes both now and in the future.

For example, the Sustainable Development Management Plan for NHS England 2018-2020 contains several actions that the NHS will carry out as part of their day-to-day operations to ensure they “…meet the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of future generations”. These actions include reducing air pollution and waste as well as helping to address the disability employment gap and promoting healthy and balanced diets.

The ‘For a Greener NHS‘ initiative (formally the Sustainability Development Unit) produced a report entitled ‘Delivering a Net Zero NHS Service‘ which celebrates the progress that has been made by the NHS in reducing their carbon footprint. It also recognises that they are the largest employer in Britain and produce 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions and so sets out its commitment to tackling climate change.

These national initiatives may help you to identify areas of your own resource management that are currently sustainable or could be improved.

For example, you could reduce your own organisation’s carbon footprint by providing front-line employees with bicycles to travel between appointments. Of course, this has to be weighed against practicalities like the distance between appointments and cost implications but it may still be something to consider. Or you may invest in loft and cavity wall insulation for a residential home, which will result in cost savings in heating that will pay for itself after two years as well as reducing emissions. This care group drastically reduced the amount of unnecessary plastic used in their care homes.

Sustainability does not just refer to environmental factors – social and economic factors should be considered as well. For example, you may use community resources to support individuals to socialise, which may prevent mental health conditions as a result of isolation. This preventative approach may be far more cost-effective than a reactionary approach as well as reducing strain on care services in the wider context, whilst focussing on the wellbeing and quality of life of service users.

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