Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Can people escape from residential care and return to the community? Can they be given sufficient help to avoid goi...
Can people escape from residential care and return to the community? Can they be given sufficient help to avoid going into care in the first place?

The answer to these questions is certainly 'yes' if they live in North Staffordshire. Lessons from the

re-ablement project are being spread throughout the county.

Not all clients have the desire or the ability to leave residential care. But, for those that can be helped to leave, the experience can be very rewarding.

The process is different for everybody. One 94-year-old lady lived in a nursing home and, as a half-way step, moved to a sheltered scheme and now lives independently. A 33-year-old schizophrenic man had lost the skills necessary to live on his own and was helped to re-learn them.

Staffordshire CC has pioneered many different schemes to help and encourage clients to take control of their own lives. Setting up the multidisciplinary integrated re-ablement teams with social services and health staff is one example, while direct payments to clients introduced by Staffordshire is another.

About 50% of referrals to the

re-ablement service come from hospitals so nursing staff and social workers must both be able to spot the opportunities and bring together the support needed.

Team members need a can-do attitude as they must have the will to make things happen, as well as having the facilities in place in re-ablement units.

Feedback from clients is very complimentary, with 'brilliant' being one word that is often used.

Services could fall apart due to problems with paperwork, but this has been resolved using new files that stay with the client and are completed by every worker delivering a service.

The project has been funded by partnership grants and this has encouraged a collaborative focus with input from a huge range of professionals. Clients are encouraged to become as independent as possible and contribute to their own care planning and goal setting to ensure they recognise the vital role they play in the whole re-ablement process.

Service users entering the scheme want help with walking, preparing meals and drinks and boosting self-confidence. These aims were confirmed by workers who said mobility and confidence were the main goals.

Discharges from the re-ablement units are carefully planned. The social work care manager reviews the situation regularly so home care support and equipment can be withdrawn or increased to reduce dependence and to continue to promote the level of independence achieved while in the unit.

After discharge clients receive emotional support alongside their practical and personal care support.

A recent Social Services Inspectorate report described the scheme as innovative and creative. The scheme has been found to offer significant savings over residential care. Customer satisfaction was found to be at an outstandingly high level, with scores overwhelmingly in the 'very good' rating.

Sandra Daniels,

Re-ablement team manager, Staffordshire CC

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.