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Latest blog - Personalising Homecare

What can commissioners and providers do to make homecare support more personal for the people that use it? This was the question discussed in a meeting between myself and the management team of the United Kingdom Homecare Association about a year ago. We talked of the multiple challenges facing both commissioners and providers in achieving support truly designed around people's individual needs and wishes. We also talked about how to ensure personal budgets work well for older people and for people not taking their personal budgets as direct payments - (see yesterday's publication from TLAP with SCIE).

These issues then gained a lot of prominence in reports and reviews by Which magazine and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. UKHCA themselves undertook a review of the commissioning of homecare and then the social care white paper encouraged commissioning by outcomes. In our discussions we acknowledged there were no easy answers, no magic bullets, but equally that we must make an effort to support positive change, however difficult the context. We agreed to think about the issue from both a provider and commissioner perspective, but with the primary focus on user experience. This led us to decide to try to make a contribution in two ways: first by developing a homecare version of the well regarded Progress for Providers personalisation resource and second by supporting the development of Individual Service Funds for homecare. We believed that these complementary resources could form the basis for useful progress.

With sponsorship from Mears Care and UKHCA and the assistance of older people, commissioners and providers in two north-west councils, Caroline Tomlinson and Michelle Livesley from In Control and Helen Sanderson Associates then led several months of development work. The result is the resources that are published as free to use materials today. The Progress for Providers tool allows homecare organisations to check how personalised they are with guidance on how to make further progress. The Individual Service Funds paper sets out how providers and commissioners in a locality can establish ISFs to help them shift from a time and task approach and improve their ability to provide more flexible support based around the goals and preferences of the individual. ISFs are at a relatively early stage in their development and implementation but we think that they can make an important contribution in homecare and beyond - offering a positive approach to personal budgets for people who don't want to use direct payments. We are very keen to work with others who feel the same way and want to further explore this option with interested councils and providers - please do contact us if you are interested.

Martin Routledge

Head of Operations

In Control

Last Updated : 29 January 2013. Page Author: Donna Godding.