New approaches to Adult Social Care at Worcestershire County Council
A new approach to delivering Adult Social Care gradually introduced by Worcestershire County Council over the last 2 years has ensured more people have been able to maintain their independence in their own homes.
This works through making best use of the different conversations between social workers and individuals to identify the interests and strengths of the individual and their community as a more proportionate and personalised way of meeting their needs, traditional support packages are still available but only offered when other options have been exhausted.
The new approach typically results in faster access to the worker who is likely to provide support, more direct contact of a higher quality, and quicker, simple solutions. The result has seen real improvements in the lives of people, with more able to stay in their own homes and fewer costly care packages.
Since its introduction, the number of new people who contact Adult Social Care who go on to receive a long-term package of care has reduced on average by 55%.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care, said: "I can't imagine anybody really wants to go into residential care. This approach looks at peoples' current lives and what's important to them, with a view to helping them stay independent for longer.
This is clearly the preferred option for them as well as us. By taking this approach and getting involved earlier we can see what can be done to stop situations getting worse and becoming crisis points. This has meant that with a bit of support people can continue to live their lives as have done, which is surely what we all aspire to do."
The new approach has been welcomed by professionals too. The previous way of working saw people being asked questions from a 26-page standard assessment form. The process would then involve matching a service to the person through a process of referrals, by which time situations could have escalated.
Removing unnecessary barriers and bureaucracy in favour of a more flexible and personalised approach has had other benefits as well including reduced waiting lists, improved services and better collaboration with local services.
While it is still relatively early days, the Council is looking at innovative ways we can improve things further. This includes a specially developed new smart phone app for social workers, which is helping local teams identify and make use of community groups and resources to support people to remain independent at home.
The next step is to encourage partners to use this approach. On that front the news is also positive with The Integrated Carer Support Hub, provided by Worcestershire Association of Carers starting to use this model.