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.
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 The social work care manager reviews the situation regularly so home care support and equipment can be withdrawn or increased to reduce dependence and to continue to promote the level of independence achieved while in the unit.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.
Re-ablement team manager, Staffordshire CC