Four topics explained...
High cost packages
Reductions in adult social care budgets in recent years have led many Councils to examine ways of reducing high cost packages of care. Undertaking a targeted review of these packages can help to identify the most effective ways of supporting eligible individuals within available resource, balancing assessed needs with achieving Best Value and individual outcomes.
Considering elements of the current package and examining whether these can be delivered in different ways can help to discover whether changes to accommodation and support could help to generate savings and achieve better outcomes. Assistive technology can help to enable effective community-based support which manages risk, provides person-centred care and promotes independence. In addition, a relatively underdeveloped area for technology is in the field of mental health services.
Assistive technology and telehealth has a key role to play in supporting people with learning disabilities in a way that promotes independence as well as safeguarding. Technology can make a difference to people with all kinds of learning disabilities, whether their difficulties are relatively mild or more profound and if they are living in formal care settings or more independently in the community. It also has a role to play in resettlement of individuals into new supported housing environments.
From managing risks such as fires or falling, to aiding communication and helping to deliver greater privacy or dignity, technology can enable people to have more control over the way they live their lives. As well as enhancing more traditional care solutions by managing risk in the home environment, technology can also enable someone to be ‘connected’ with their wider community, friends and family and enjoy the wellbeing derived from activities such as going to the shops, to social events, to work and meeting friends and family.
As more is understood about learning disabilities it is clear that enabling technology has the potential to make a significant and positive difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities, and the ability of our health, housing and social care systems to manage their needs effectively.
Prevention and early intervention
The ADASS Budget Survey 2016[i] (which had 100% completed returns) stated that to maintain last year’s levels of service would require more than £1.1bn more (to take into account demography, National Living Wage which costs £600m and DoLS applications which have risen tenfold).
Directors see increased prevention and the integration of health and social care as the two most important ways in which savings could be made over the next three years. But this year Councils will be spending 4% less on prevention than last year.
Assistive technology presents a cost effective means of providing preventative support, whether through lifestyle monitoring which may indicate a deterioration in health, or sensors which can provide early warning of potentially harmful events thereby minimising the consequences e.g. falls. There is also the potential for outbound calling from telecare monitoring centres to provide proactive support, delivering public health messages, signposting to other services and detecting potential issues at an early stage and so preventing the need for more complex interventions.
Assistive technology can also support carers, maintaining and improving their wellbeing and prolonging their ability to care.
Many factors affect the demand for social care, and these can vary significantly from council to council. However funding restraints for statutory services mean that it is imperative to find the most effective ways of delivering care, and that it is likely that we will see a rise in people funding their own support.
Assistive technology improves safety at home, can delay and reduce the need for hospital and care home admissions, and provides support to carers, all of which helps providers and users to make best use of their resources. Private pay telecare services can also give service users greater choice and control over the support they receive, and make statutory services more sustainable.
ADASS is seeking further best practice examples for inclusion in the final version of this document. Please contact Linda Sanders on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be included.