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“Times are changing, people are living longer and demands on our services are ever increasing. We need to adapt what we do and tailor our services so we can continue to offer the best possible care for local people” says Joanne Vaughan, head of assessment and independence at Dudley Council.
Last year, Dudley Council was awarded £13.9million from the government’s Improved Better Care Fund to tackle the pressures facing health and adult social care services in the borough.
Since then the council has introduced a raft of measures to support people whether that is in the home, whilst at hospital or in a residential setting.
Joanne added: “We knew this time last year we needed to look at our wider approach to health and social care services and identify what we could do to improve people’s experiences and overall independence.
“Single handed care is one of the measures we have introduced and is proving very successful. This has seen us invest in new specialist equipment such as hoists and sheets, which make it easier for staff to deliver care and is most importantly helping people to be more independent in the home.
“We’re one of the first authorities to use this equipment and we’ve received numerous requests from organisations up and down the country to offer training and share examples of best practice.”
To date, the council has provided training for hundreds of staff from different care organisations, who want to adopt a similar ‘single handed care’ approach.
Dozens of people have benefitted since ‘single handed care’ launched in the borough and, in many cases, the equipment is already helping people to maintain their mobility for longer, and have greater control of their movement as well as increasing bone density and strengthening muscles.
Evidence shows that the equipment is helping people to do more for themselves and is having a positive impact on people’s confidence and independence.
It means that in many cases the support of one carer, rather than two, is now often all that is needed. This offers a more personal and dignified approach to care, ensuring an individual does not feel crowded and feels more in control of their own life.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, the lead cabinet member for adult social care, wants the council to be at the forefront of looking after people.
“It’s really encouraging to know we’re leading the way in Dudley,” he said.
“We want to be at cutting-edge of service development and I’m pleased first and foremost that singled handed care is having such a positive impact on people’s lives but secondly that what we’re doing is recognised as best practice and leading the way in the delivery of care in the home.”
Other measures introduced with the Improved Better Care Fund include an emergency response team, which offers support to people who have gone to the hospital’s accident and emergency department in need of urgent social care support. It helps them to return home and prevent unnecessary admission into hospital. The council has also introduced length of stay targets to reduce delays of hospital discharges.
These measures along with other incentives, such as new technologies, increased levels of care at home and recruiting more social workers to prevent inappropriate admissions to hospital, have had a significant impact within a short period of time.