Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Taking steps to transform care

Friday, 19 July 2013

Proposals to support the transformation of care for older people in Hampshire, offering better choice, greater independence and improved quality are to be considered by Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Anna McNair Scott on 26 July.

In order to meet the challenges of an ageing population, at a time when the public sector is under severe financial constraints, it is vital that older people's services are sustainable, cost effective and offer people choice and control.

To meet the changing needs and aspirations of older people, the County Council is developing new ways of providing care and support which will help people to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible, such as Extra Care Assisted Living. The County Council is also investing in community based services that promote independence and choice and offer better value for money such as supporting people when they are discharged from hospital through re-ablement and the expertise of community response teams, support for carers and telecare assistive technology.

At a time when more older people are choosing alternatives to residential care, wanting to remain more independent, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Anna McNair Scott, will be asked to approve an extensive consultation on the possible closure of four residential homes for older people and to use the land or capital released by the sale of the land to develop Extra Care Assisted Living schemes in these communities.

The homes are Bulmer House, Petersfield, Cranleigh Paddock, Lyndhurst, Deeside, Basingstoke, and Nightingale Lodge, Romsey.

People deciding to go into residential care generally do so at a much later stage in life when their care needs are higher than a traditional residential home is designed to support. They also have higher expectations around the service they receive and the physical environment.

The Council regularly reviews its care homes to ensure they provide the standards of accommodation needed and expected by both current and future residents. Some of the Council's traditional residential homes that were built in the 1960s,70s and early 80s are unable to meet these aspirations and provide difficulties for residents and staff, with narrow corridors, insufficient space for care equipment and shared toilet facilities. The four homes have been identified as having significant issues which prevent them being suitable for meeting the needs of older people in the future.

Hampshire County Council has a strong track record of investing in care facilities to meet the needs of the ageing population and is currently extending two of its residential and nursing homes - Oakridge in Basingstoke and Westholme in Winchester. The Council is investing £45 million over a decade to stimulate the development of Extra Care Assisted Living schemes across the whole county to add to the four new build schemes and 12 enhanced sheltered housing schemes that have already opened.

Extra Care Assisted Living provides people with their own individual apartment, coupled with access to communal and shared space, in modern, high quality, attractive buildings close to local facilities. It offers clear benefits to service users and their relatives including preventative and well-being services to increase independence, qualified staff onsite to respond quickly to a variety of personal care and other support needs and the opportunity to meet new friends and become part of a vibrant community. Schemes include both one and two bed units to enable couples with differing levels of need to remain living together. Twenty-four hour care and support is available on-site, to be used progressively by people as their needs increase, avoiding early or unnecessary entry to care home settings.

Research has shown that people living in Extra Care housing enjoy better health, have fewer hospital stays and a lower number of falls. They are also less likely to move into residential care.

Three of the residential homes have day care on site and, if following consultation, a decision is taken to close the homes, the proposals are to temporarily relocate Bulmer House Day Centre and Masters House Day Centre (Nightingale Lodge), until these could move into the new Extra Care developments. It has been identified that there is sufficient supply of day services to meet the demand in the Lyndurst area and therefore as part of any consultation views will be sought on the closure of Cranleigh Paddock Day Centre.

Cllr McNair Scott said: "When considering the proposals I will be looking for assurances that the needs of current residents in these homes will be the Council's top priority throughout any consultation period.

"If I agree to a consultation, this will be a very difficult time for residents of the homes, day care clients, families and staff and I want to be confident that they will all be fully supported and helped to take part.

"I also need to be satisfied that the proposals being put to me for consultation will help the Council to support people the way they wish to be supported in the future and that they will provide a sustainable solution to delivering care for an ageing population at a time when resources are shrinking."

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