Shropshire Council sets up new initiatives to help vulnerable people remain in their home for longer
Shropshire Council has launched a series of initiatives to ensure those in need of support, remain at home rather than in a nursing or care home.
The programmes form part of the sector’s continuous commitment to place less people in care and hospital settings and more in the community.
Additional new funding for adult social care from central government is helping Shropshire Council’s social care services to develop new initiatives and projects. These are aimed to support people and those who may be caring for them, to remain healthy by helping connect them to local support, activities and resources in their local community.
The projects are also designed to prevent the need for bed-based care either in hospital, in a community hospital or nursing home setting. So whether that’s helping to avoid people entering hospital or assisting them to return home as quickly as possible.
New initiatives being trialled include:
- Bespoke night time support – (Two carers in a car) – This pilot scheme involves two carers who can travel to any household within the Shrewsbury area to provide support between 10pm and 7am. This support may be assistance for toilet care, to getting into bed at a later time than when regular carers are available, reassurance if just home from hospital, or as an alternative to a hospital admission where night support is required. Request for placements are often due to night support being required but many people do not need this throughout the whole night. This scheme enables care support to be provided to a number of people throughout the night.
- Carer support post hospital discharge – Carers Trust 4all will be offering support for carers discharged from hospital. Carers may feel anxious following a discharge that they have lost their routine or the person they support on discharge may require more support. This provided support directly for the benefit of the carer at this time of increased challenge for carers. This is available throughout Shropshire.
- New carers development lead based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – This new role will raise the profile of the need to support carers of people in hospital. The postholder will link with colleagues throughout the hospital and arrange carer assessments.
- Let’s Talk local hub – There will also be hospital based ‘Let’s Talk local’ hub which will offer information and advice around visiting times for people who are supporting friends, neighbours, family members who are in hospital.
- HOLD project – Shropshire Council was awarded over £2.4m to help people with disabilities live independently in their own homes, through the Government’s ‘Home Ownership for Clients with Long Term Disabilities’ (HOLD) programme. The shared ownership scheme enables individuals with enduring physical and/or learning disabilities – this includes those with challenging behaviour, sensory impairment and complex needs – to buy a home of their own. Shropshire’s project will help assist at least 30 adults with learning disabilities to purchase properties. Homes will be innovatively designed using assistive technology, allowing individuals to remain independent at home.
- Care units – where additional support is needed but can’t be provided within the person’s home, the council has commissioned four new ‘independence’ units located within a local housing development. These units will be individually self-contained, where couples or single people can live and where they can continue to receive therapeutic and care support prior to, and during their transition when moving back to their own home. These units will be particularly beneficial for those discharged patients not able to return home from hospital. They will provide people with the environment where they can continue to regain and improve their ability to live in their own home, which for many people is what they wish to achieve, and evidence demonstrates is difficult to achieve if admitted to residential placements. This will allow people who require a period of enablement in an environment where they can be accompanied by their partner and receive further support to develop their independence skills.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, said:
“Although we acknowledge there is a national issue around the shortage of care home beds, creating more capacity for beds is not necessarily the best solution. We’ve been aware of this in Shropshire for some time as we have the additional challenges of being a rural county with a growing older population which is higher than the England average.
“We know that most people in need of support would prefer to be at home, and our priority is to ensure people can remain independent and safe and continue to live in their home for as long as possible. Therefore we are looking at ways to enable this by working more closely with our health and voluntary sector partners and within the local community and by utilising local resources that help people remain safe, well and independent for longer.
“The extra boost of Government funding will help address some of the challenges we face through these new initiatives and support the existing work we do with our partners around keeping people in their homes.”
There is a wealth of information and advice to help support people in remaining independent for longer, on the Shropshire Choices website at www.shropshirechoices.co.uk.
Avoiding hospital admissions and helping discharged patients return home as soon as possible
A record number of older people remain in hospital for longer than is clinically necessary*, or are being discharged to a care home or nursing home when, with changes to their housing, many would be able to live independently.
Discharging older people from hospital NAO Report May 2016
Others may be discharged home without the right support being in place, resulting in readmissions and/or further health decline
* Source: National Audit Office (2016) Discharging older patients from hospital
Both the council, hospital trusts and Shropshire CCG are already working together with the local independent and voluntary sector, to do everything they can to mitigate the issues around delayed discharges.
Shropshire Council and Shropshire’s Community Health NHS Trust’s joint Integrated Community Service (ICS) provide short-term support for patients who are ready to leave hospital. This involves a team of carers, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists working with the person to help them regain their skills and independence. This will usually be in their own home or as close to home as possible. ICS teams also work closely with partner organisations to identify people who need support to avoid an admission to hospital in the first place.
The council’s remodelled adult social care eBrokerage system is also proving successful in helping discharged patients to quickly find the right care package to help them rehabilitate at home. The new system which has been well received from care providers, and has now extended to residential care. More information about our online brokerage model can be found here. For information about how health and social care organisations are working together to reduce delayed discharges of care click here.