More people with disabilities in Wolverhampton are finding work, an increasing number of residents are benefitting from assistive technology and fewer patients are experiencing delays in being discharged from hospital.

Those are just some of the highlights from the 2018-19 Local Account – the annual report for the City of Wolverhampton Council's Adult Social Care Services – which details successes, challenges and priorities for the coming year.

It shows that 4,634 people received adult social care services in Wolverhampton during 2018-9, around three quarters of them older people, with the council spending just over £74 million on adult social care services last year. 
Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “This report showcases the fantastic work that took place in 2018-19 with adults with care and support needs and carers, and I’d like to pay tribute to hard working colleagues at the council and our partner agencies for their continuing dedication.

“It is also important for us to recognise that nationally and locally councils continue to face a number of significant and unprecedented challenges. As a result of this, many councils are exploring new and innovative ways of supporting people to make the most of the resources available. 

"It is wonderful to see how much progress has been made in adult social care and we are excited about the innovation and creativity that is taking place in the city.”

Among the key achievements showcased in the Local Account is a dramatic increase in the number of people using Telecare – assistive technology which enables people to remain independent for longer in their own homes – with a total of 4,073 new people benefiting from the service between 2016 and 2019, far above the original target of 3,000.

The number of people experiencing delayed transfers of care in Wolverhampton, where they are deemed well enough to return home from hospital but are unable to pending further assessment or support, has fallen by over 70%. Wolverhampton was the 18th best performing health and social care system at the start of April 2019 - up from 104th in April 2017 - and is in the top quartile of health and social care systems nationwide. 

Local data indicates that the number of people with a learning disability in paid employment has increased again, having risen by 35% in 2018-2019 following a 37.5% increase the year before. Some 73 people with a learning disability were in work in 2018-2019 compared to 54 in 2017-2018. 

The Local Account also details how adult social care in Wolverhampton has been testing out a new way of working, called Three Conversations, which aims to create a new relationship between professionals and people who need support, providing a graded process of conversations aimed at helping people lead more independent lives. 

It includes a case study of an individual who was struggling at home and thought that residential care was the only option. Using the Three Conversations model, the social worker was able to respond promptly with the individual's family saying they felt supported, listened to and hopeful that he could remain in his own home for as long as possible.

Also in 2018-19, Wolverhampton’s Dementia Action Alliance co-ordinated a wide range of activities to help people living with dementia and their families and carers. This included the city's wide ranging programme to mark Dementia Action Week, which included dozens of events across Wolverhampton. 

Indeed, Wolverhampton has recently been granted Dementia Friendly Community status for a third year running by the Alzheimer's Society, and was chosen to host a major report by the charity into dementia care. A further 3,000 local residents also became Dementia Friends, taking the total number of Friends in the city to 13,000.

As well as achievements over the previous 12 months, the Local Account identifies areas the City of Wolverhampton Council is prioritising in the year ahead. This includes ensuring that everything has been explored to enable people to live as independently as possible in their own homes for as long as they are able to, and continuing to support the development of the community offer, embedding the Three Conversations approach and connecting more people to their local communities will be crucial in achieving this.

To read the 2018-19 Local Account, please visit Adult Social Care.