Proximity and quality for the new Home Help Service

The new contract for the Home Help Service (SAD), which provides support for elderly and dependent people living alone in Barcelona, includes a broad package of improvements for professionals and users alike, as well as a new management model based around proximity and the implementation of care superblocks.

19/12/2019 17:42 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The new contract for the Home Help Service (SAD) will be resolved in the second half of 2020. The contract represents an innovative approach to move home help services closer to dependent people, particularly senior citizens living alone or who need help with everyday tasks. The invitation to tender for the new contract divides the service by districts into four lots, adding a fifth lot for monitoring and quality control. This last lot is to be awarded to an external company to guarantee the application of all measures in the new SAD and the satisfaction of users and professionals with the service. The new contract has an increased budget of 99.7 million euros, the second largest municipal contract in terms of spending, after the cleaning contract.

Home Help Service (SAD)

The SAD is the service that provides home support for people who are dependent or at risk and who need help from social and medical professionals to carry out their daily routines. The service includes help with hygiene and personal care, help with physical activities and movement (getting up, getting into bed and walking), food and dietary control, medication and assistance getting out of the home. The SAD currently has more than 4,000 workers in Barcelona, serving over 24,000 users.

In many cases the user profile corresponds to people over 65 who live alone and are not self-sufficient in their everyday life. More than 90,00 people in this age group live alone in Barcelona, 76% of them women. SAD professionals help improve their quality of life and counter solitude: 30% of women and 18% of men in the over 65 age group and living alone affirm they feel lonely in their daily life.

Improvements to the new SAD

The new SAD contract sets out a series of measures that contract-holders will have to apply, and which affect the labour quality of professionals with the service and the quality received by users. In terms of labour improvements, a 14% increase in salaries will be applied, travelling time will be cut, two new professional figures introduced (occupational therapists and social integrators) to promote personal autonomy and socio-educational support, as well as better psychological support for workers and social workers.

For service users, the new SAD contract offers better quality in terms of adapting teams to people’s needs, with more personalised support and more streamlined forms of communication. In addition, fixed teams will mean the same professionals attend to the same users, an improvement made possible by the implementation of care superblocks.

Care superblocks

The other main change in the new SAD is the expansion of the pilot scheme for care superblocks, which will be implemented citywide. A trial was started in 2018 in four city neighbourhoods (Sant Antoni, Vilapicina i la Torre Llobeta, Poblenou and La Marina del Port) to transform home support into a closer and better-quality service. Care superblocks are based on small teams of 10 to 12 professionals attending to 40 to 60 users in the same residential area, occupying between 3 and 6 blocks of L’Eixample. This system allows stable care communities to be created that improve quality of support and staff working conditions alike.

The trial was extended to four new superblocks in 2019, demonstrating the success of this pioneering care model. The new SAD will see between 60 and 120 care blocks implemented between 2020 and 2025, with all districts to get them.

One superblock in each district will also offer users access to other social and healthcare services, over and above those offered by the SAD. Service integration in care superblocks is geared towards the future, to tackle the progressive ageing and dependence of the population, a model of proximity that humanises care and improves quality of life.

What is the SAD?

The Home Help Service (SAD) provides support at home for people who are dependent or at risk, particularly senior citizens living on their own.

How to request the SAD service?

Through an appointment with the city’s Social Services, booked using the Social Services appointments phone line (936197311).

Who can request support from the SAD?

  • Dependent people, as recognised by Act 39/2006 on the promotion of personal autonomy and care for people in situations of dependency (LAPAD).
  • People at risk or temporarily vulnerable, who require urgent support or temporary help to prevent their situation worsening.
  • Individuals and/or families at social risk, either due to a lack of capacity or habits in self-care or due to the organisation of the household and care of family member, particularly young children.

What services does the SAD offer?

  • Help with hygiene and personal care
  • Help with physical activity and movement
  • Dietary care and control
  • Control of medication and healthcare
  • Support with everyday habits (food, hygiene, household organisation etc.)
  • Assistance outside the home (visits to medical facilities, banking etc.)
  • Guidance and support for carers


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