Wokingham Borough Council has invested an additional £1.6million across their Adult Social Care department this year as part of their continuing focus to support residents with additional needs to stay in their homes for longer where suitable.
The council has reduced the need for multiple home carers thanks to their additional investment in specialist equipment, education and training, helping residents to build stronger relationship with their carer and in turn giving them more privacy and dignity.
Following a successful pilot, the council’s Occupational Therapy Service has revolutionised how people are cared for in their own homes by offering single-handed care if it suitable for them, providing residents with more independence, choice and control.
Double-staffed care packages had been the established standard for people needing to be hoisted or cared for in bed for many years. But thanks to innovations in equipment, such as overhead hoisting to move and turn people in bed, and manual handling techniques, in many cases a single carer can now provide thorough and safe care on their own. Some £725 is spent per person on putting the new equipment in place for single-handed care but this is quickly offset by savings in care cost.
“Every care package safely provided for one person means another carer is available for someone else, allowing us to provide a more effective and efficient service. We are not reducing staffing levels, we are redeploying staff to help more residents to have more say in how they are cared for.” said Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services. “It will give many people the choice to be cared for safely by a relative, if they so choose. We understand that many want to stay at home for as long as possible and these improvements, which are possible thanks to the additional £1.6million investment in adult social care this year, also allow people to be discharged quicker and supported in their homes.”
Experience from other projects around the UK have shown that single-handed care can be successfully delivered in 25 to 50 per cent of cases where double-handed care is still in place. The Royal Berkshire Hospital and Wokingham Community Hospital are also considering introducing single-handed care so the council is working with them to share its good practice.
Single-handed care is however not suitable for everyone and is only implemented following careful risk assessment on a case by case basis. Decisions to provide it are based on shared multidisciplinary input.