Rethinking care for the elderly
A NEW £5.5 million pound service will offer care and support to people across Lincolnshire from April next year.
Lincolnshire County Council's new Wellbeing Service will offer taxpayer-funded help to people in sheltered and supported housing – care previously provided through the authority's Supporting People Programme.
But, for the first time, from April 2014 the same care will be available to private residents in their own home.
While the authority already looks after more than 21,000 people, it is hoped the new service will support an extra 1,000 individuals.
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And it believes that by offering more lower level help, such as installing "grab rails", it will reduce the need for more critical and expensive support, such as long stays in hospital after a fall.
While the new scheme is designed to help vulnerable adults, it has been met with resistance by some people in Lincoln, after it emerged that the restructuring of funding could see full-time wardens removed from sheltered housing complexes.
The county council says its aim is to help vulnerable adults and the elderly stay in their own homes rather than move to sheltered housing or care homes for extra support.
The county council currently has 76 contacts for care provision across Lincolnshire.
These are deals with district councils and housing associations.
Under the changes, the number of contracts will be reduced.
Bids from companies wanting to supply these services are currently being invited, and existing providers are invited to apply.
But until the tendering processes is completed in December, it is not known who will provide the care.
One change will be the implementation of a county-wide "rapid response" system.
It could even include the installation of sensors to make sure people are moving around.
Some of the services will be means tested but some will be available to all, regardless of income or savings.
Tony McGinty, assistant director of public health, explained: "The county council is developing a new Wellbeing Service that is designed to keep people safe in their own homes, regardless of whose housing they live in.
"Currently many services are only available to those in sheltered or supported housing, and this will be extended to those who live in privately owned or rented accommodation."
The service will cost £5.5million each year, with the county council re-directing money from its existing contracts to fund the changes.
Vulnerable adults over the age of 18 will be referred to the new service by hospitals, GPs, adult care, or even self-referrals.They will then be assessed to see what help they need.
Mr McGinty said the new system would help people who could not afford private companies before to now receive help.
He added: "The new service will include things like minor home adaptations such as installing grab rails and ramps, as well as monitoring technology and support.
"A key part of the new service will also be the provision of a 24-hour emergency call out service, seven days a week, to those who need it."
If someone needs help, the telephone or alarm system will connect to a call centre.
Staff will then ring for emergency services if needed, arrange for a responder to see the person is safe, or give other help if it is not serious.