Abstract for: Establishing the 'True Cost of Care' also Reveals the Benefits - Modelling Home Care in Northern Ireland

In keeping with the conference theme, this practitioner application revisits some earlier models to show how they can be used in combination with others (advances in computational methods) using Stella software’s modular capabilities, including Stella Architect interface development. The project brief was to conduct a high-level review of the home care system in Northern Ireland, in particular to calculate ‘the true cost of care’, a highly politically and commercially sensitive enterprise. Using group model building to achieve maximum stakeholder engagement the project produced a simulation model that brings together the intricately inter-connected parts of the home care system (population in need, service pathway, workforce, labour market, financial flows) to show not only the ‘true cost’ (much more than is currently being paid) and some benefits (perhaps ‘whole system’ costs will reduce, because the hospital population will reduce). The Northern Ireland government is enthusiastically adopting System Dynamics as an approach to inform strategy formation and service design.