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Social care questions for over 65s

A project funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Department of Health

Published: May 2009


We've developed a module of questions that will help organisations make sense of complex care arrangements.

They untangle the contributions of Local Authority and private care services, different payment models and related benefits and the provision and receipt of informal care.

The questions have been designed to reflect recent social care developments in England and Wales.

How can the questions be used?

The module can be used in economic evaluations and is suitable for longitudinal or cross-sectional population surveys that cover community-based care. The Health Survey for England is including the module in 2011.

What do the new questions offer?

  • Respondent's ability to carry out activities of daily living.
  • Respondent's need for and use of:
    • Formal community-based social care services.
    • Informal care by relatives and friends.
  • How often and how regularly social care services are used.
  • How respondents pay for social care services including:
    • Direct payments and personal budgets for care.
    • User contributions and/or charges for social care services.
    • Privately-purchased care.
  • Use of community equipment, 'meals on wheels' and day care.
  • Respondent's involvement in providing care to others.

Who was involved in developing these questions?

This work was carried out by our researchers in the Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub, along with a group of academics at the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, the University of Kent, and the Health Economics Group at the University of East Anglia.


In 2009 the project team carried out a literature review of relevant economic evaluations and a review of existing questions to identify data gaps.

The team then conducted qualitative research with stakeholders, service providers and service users.

This reseach informed the initial design of the questions, which were then subject to expert evaluation and two rounds of cognitive question testing.


To send feedback about the questionnaire module please click here.