There has been a sharp fall in the number of residents being admitted permanently into care units, according to performance indicators recently released to Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet.
The data shows that the Council is performing significantly better than last year’s national average in supporting its older population to live independently.
And senior officials believe the success is partially down to the Council’s innovative ‘Prevention Matters’ strategy which was launched two years ago. The aim of the strategy is to provide early support for vulnerable adults before their problems become serious.
“We are thrilled by this data because it shows we are achieving our goal of enabling our older residents to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible,” said Ali Bulman, the Council’s Service Director (Service Provision) for Adult Social Care.
“Living at home with the proper support is far more beneficial for people, as well as more cost effective for the taxpayer, and we are determined to equip our residents with the advice and help to ensure they stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. Prevention Matters means we try to nip problems in the bud for people, and that we don’t wait until they need to go into residential care before we step in.
“But Prevention Matters is not the only strategy we have used here. I am very proud of our staff who are committed to improving outcomes for the public and have worked so tirelessly and creatively to support them to stay at home in a variety of ways, such as the use of telecare.”
In Bucks, permanent admissions to a care home reduced year on year from 664.4 to 553.5 per 100,000 of the population aged 65 or over. This represented a 16.7% decrease for 2014/15. The figures are currently provisional.
In England, the 2013/14 figure was 650.6 admissions; in the South East it was 625.8. The 2014/15 figures for England and the South East have not currently been released.
The figures for Bucks were branded ‘fantastic’ by County Council Deputy Leader Mike Appleyard, who is also Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.
“These statistics show how seriously and effectively this Council is treating the care of the elderly and the vulnerable and they are a fabulous testament to the work of our dedicated team of professionals,” he said. “We have a growing elderly population and it’s a huge task to look after the social care of so many people across such a large geographical area, but this performance shows we are doing it well at present. My job is to ensure that we keep this up and improve even further.”
Prevention Matters, launched in July 2013, set out to bring together the County Council, the NHS, the voluntary sector and District Councils in a joined-up approach to catching vulnerable adults in need before personal health or social problems become critical. The programme promised considerable financial savings by avoiding costly treatment and care, while seeking to enhance individual wellbeing by maintaining health and independence.
It works through a network of Community Practice Workers, managed through the voluntary sector, who liaise with GP surgeries to identify vulnerable people who might benefit from a free programme of support offering practical solutions to social or health problems that may be beginning to affect their lives. There is also a team of Community Links Officers whose job it is to help develop services in the community which can form part of the programme of support for individuals.