New report published: "Just another day spent on my own"
The Borough of Poole asked the LINk (Local Involvement Network) to carry out an
independent research project, evaluating the impact of last years changes to social care.
A report has been published reviewing the impact of changes to adult social care services in Poole.
In 2010, following government guidance and due to significant Central Government funding reductions, Borough of Poole revised two policies - the Fair Access to Care policy and the Fairer Contributions policy - to change the eligibility criteria for social care and the way people contribute towards the cost of the services they receive.
Local people who’ve been affected by the changes to social services took part in face-to-face interviews and people who’ve stopped going to day centres took part in a postal survey. The LINk worked with independent researchers, Poole Forum, PRO Disability and Rethink on this project.
The council is now working closely with Poole LINk to carefully consider the recommendations made in the report when planning or changing services in the future.
Louise Bate, of Poole LINk, said: "Our research report suggests that people affected by these service changes could come back to the council with increased care needs, if they aren’t offered more support.
“Almost two thirds of survey respondents are now doing nothing on the days that they used to attend a day centre. There is a real risk of increasing isolation if people aren’t supported to find alternatives.
“The LINk report urges Borough of Poole to improve communication, support those people who need extra help and work with local partners tomeet social care needs in Poole. We’re looking forward to working with the council to help them meet these recommendations.”
Cllr Peter Adams, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Borough of Poole, said: "This important report will help us understand how people have been affected by changes to adult social care services in Poole.
"Poole has a high population of older people and a rising need from people with substantial and critical needs for care services. To ensure we can meet demand for social care at a time of significant reductions to council budgets, we have to focus more on offering support to the most vulnerable residents with the highest levels of need. Despite the change in eligibility criteria, we have invested an additional £1million adult social care services this year to help meet these needs.
"The LINk report and our own feedback shows the changes have impacted on people very differently. Most people valued the service they received and are disappointed to have lost it. While some people have enjoyed taking part in community activities, others have found it harder to adapt to the changes.
"Further to the LINk report, we are contacting the 75 people no longer receiving care services to discuss their experiences with them. We will also be looking at further advice that can be offered to people and where they have difficulty accessing alternative services we will work with the community sector to see how we can better meet local needs.
"I will ensure that members of the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee will consider the recommendations of the report in depth."
The Fairer Contributions policy changes the way people to contribute towards their care costs. Everyone who receives a service pays a single contribution based on what they can afford to pay.
As a result, 15 per cent of people pay more toward the cost of their care. However, those on the lowest income - 44 per cent of people receiving care services - pay nothing. Most people have seen no change or pay less for their care.
The Fair Access to Care policy has raised the eligibility criteria so only people with substantial and critical needs are entitled to receive council-funded social care, bringing Poole into line with 80 per cent of local authorities. People with moderate needs were reassessed and a significant number were found to have increased care needs and kept their services. Of the 4,995 people receiving council-funded care services in 2010/11, only 75 were no longer eligible as a result of the changes to the criteria.
Read the report
>> Download the full report here
>> Download the Easy-Read report here
The Borough of Poole response:
>> Read the formal response from the Borough of Poole here.
>> Read the Easy Read version of the response here
>> Listen to the report here (4 mb, MP3 file)
For more information
For more information please contact Louise at the LINk Office on firstname.lastname@example.org.