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Personalised Homecare

A new report and toolkit, developed by a group led by national charity In Control and Helen Sanderson Associates today offer an important contribution to commissioners and providers engaged in the challenging task of personalising the homecare support received by many thousands of people in the UK.

The Individual Service Funds for Homecare report and the Progress for Providers: Checking your progress in delivering personalised support for people living at home toolkit provide practical support for adult social care commissioners and homecare providers to deliver personalisation. The report offers advice on moving forward from the traditional model of 'time and task' within the constraints faced by commissioners and providers. The toolkit focuses on how providers can self-assess, plan and act to further personalise their support.

Some of the key messages from the working group, which the paper seeks to address, include:

* An ISF should be a real option for local people using homecare services.
* Local councils should develop a framework for this with providers and local people.
* Providers should develop their ability to offer the ISF option, including a description of their offer and retail price.
* Commissioners should encourage the development of local ISF providers, through cooperation, information and support.
* It is important to recognise that the types of homecare support that people using services say they need may not be confined to personal care - they can include a much wider range of tasks.
* Systems need to be developed and training established to enable staff to expand their skills and to work in creative, person-centred ways.
* All should agree that homecare services must be focused on identifying and achieving outcomes, not time and task.
* Councils and providers need to work together so that homecare providers have the freedom to innovate and use budgets flexibly, as agreed with the person using services.
* Capacity, recruitment and retention are increasingly important issues which need to be thought through in the context of the ISF, and what this means in terms of quality and cost.

The work was sponsored and supported by Mears Care Limited and the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA). Two local authorities were partners in the project - Wirral Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.

Martin Routledge, In Control's head of operations said: "In the recent White Paper the government challenged the sector to move on from time and task in homecare. To do this practical approaches and ideas are needed. The report and toolkit have been developed by people  receiving, commissioning and providing support and as such offer something grounded in the real world. We are keen to work with others to build on the materials in many more places and services."

Helen Sanderson said: "We are delighted that the successful Progress for Providers range of self assessments has now been extended to include homecare. It is vital that providers of homecare understand the potential of Individual Service Funds, and what personalisation means in day-to-day practice in their service."

Colin Angel, policy director at UKHCA said: "Individuals have a right to expect that their choices and preferences are placed at the heart of their services. The shift in respective responsibilities between commissioners and providers may seem uncomfortable at first, but the paper shows that it can be achieved with a mature trusting and open relationship between all parties involved."

Dr Andrew Newens, managing director of Mears Care Ltd said: "Personalisation has been around for a number of years and yet it sometimes feels as if little has changed about the way services are commissioned or delivered. We believe strongly in providing high quality homecare services in a way which makes sense to individuals. We are proud to have been involved in this report and welcome this new approach to homecare through Individual Service Funds."

Winnie Cooke, executive member of Wirral Older People's Parliament said: "When I was asked to take part in this project I had no idea how people in our communities were coping on a daily basis, having lost their independence and control of their lives through ill health.  I like to think that since personal budgets were made available it brings with it empowerment, liberation and self advocacy. I hope that this will give individuals the choice to plan their lives and choose a care provider who will deliver the care and support to make it all happen for them."

For more information about the Individual Service Funds for homecare paper and the Progress for providers toolkit, please visit: www.in-control.org.uk/5715.aspx

Last Updated : 29 May 2013. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.