A glimpse into the future of social care planning
For people involved in the care sector, the consensus of opinion is now well established that it is essential to put people with long-term health conditions at the centre of their own care planning. In this way people are able to choose and “commission” the services they want and need, turning from passive recipients of care to active participants in their own care process. This approach makes sense not just for the patients, but for the public purse too, offering considerable savings over the high costs of traditional, centrally administered approaches.
Websites, tools, fact sheets, helplines and other information services play an important educating role in but because everyone’s situation is unique it’s unrealistic to expect people to pick services from a list.
With the encouragement and support of Government, social enterprises are emerging as organisations able to rise to the challenge of doing more than providing information, guidance and advice to those in need of care, by delivering bespoke personal care and support planning and brokerage services.
Implications of The Care Act come 2016
The Care Act, due to come into force in April 2016, aims to empower those in need of care, help them understand their options, give them choice, ensure the quality of care they receive and allow people to stay active, independent and connected to their communities. The Care Act requires Councils to provide effective information, guidance and advice services that prevent, reduce or delay needs for care and support for both stated-funded and self-funding citizens. It will also introduce an entitlement to independent advocacy.
Councils in England have been providing personal budgets (PB) for some time and from April 2014, people eligible for NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) have the ‘right-to-ask’ their clinical commissioning group (CCG) for a personal health budget (PHB) and from October 2014 they will have the ‘right-to-have’ one.
One of the ways of effectively delivering PBs and PHBs is to use a small percentage of a care budget to employ a care and support “Broker”.
The role of ‘Care Brokers’
When it comes to care planning many people and their families need support navigating this complex area and this is where the role of a care ‘broker’ comes in.
The company I work for – My Support Broker – is just one of these emerging broker organisations. We’re a social enterprise that recruits and trains people who, crucially, have personal experience of long-term health conditions and therefore have both the experience and empathy to help source, plan and manage other people’s care and support.
We know arranging quality and value for money care and support is critical but it’s not the only thing in our customers’ lives – so that’s just our starting point. From there we do much more, by helping them plan their best day, tailor support and services to achieve it and get the people who matter involved.
Knowing how to discuss issues sensitively, professionally and confidentially is a vitally important part of the job. If someone is considering contacting us for the first time to enquire about our services, it’s helpful to have a number of contact options open to them beyond phone and email. We’ve started using new Chat technology from LivePerson, enabling people to contact us confidentially for a Live Chat, via a confidential link.
In a private, professional environment we’re then able to chat through the issues people are facing via text and in real time, offering immediate options regarding the support we can offer. If an enquirer wants to take up our support services they are put in touch with a Support Broker local to them, to begin the care planning process.
The links to Live Chat are coded, so we’re able to track back to the source of the enquiry, which might be a leaflet from a lawyer or a referral from a GP.
All told, Live Chat is a very modern way of handling enquiries in this sector and I expect to see many more organisations adopting it soon.
The future care planning model
The Care Bill aims to empower those in need of care, enabling them and their families to make smarter, better informed choices. The emergence of new models of planning and new technologies like Live Chat that aid communication can only be of benefit to those who need support.
By Toby Mynott – My Support Broker