Wolverhampton City Council has put forward proposals to transform social care services and help older people in the city remain independent for longer.

Members of the council's Cabinet will meet next week to discuss wide ranging plans to improve the support on offer to older people in their own homes, including offering extra hours of home care reablement support and the development of a specialist reablement service for people with dementia.

The council also wants to dramatically increase the number of residents using the latest Telecare assistive technology, such as personal alarms and monitoring equipment, to enable vulnerable people to continue to live at home in greater confidence.

At the same time it is proposing to decommission a number of services currently provided by the city council, including traditional residential and short stay respite and rehabilitation services, and transfer them to external providers.

The proposals recognise the council's obligations under the new Care Act, which was implemented earlier this year and seeks to promote people's wellbeing by encouraging the use of preventative services, thereby minimising the need for more intensive health and social care support.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Older people tell us they want and expect to remain in their own home for as long as possible, and we need to provide services that help them do that.

"It is clear that placing people in traditional residential or nursing care, even for a short period of time, can create a greater level of dependency than if they were able to stay at home.

"National guidance is also encouraging the greater use of preventative services, and so increasing the range of help available to help people maintain their independence will hopefully stop them needing more intensive support in the first place.

"This is particularly important at a time when we are experiencing rising demand for social care services because people are living longer."

The proposals include:

  • expanding the use of Telecare assistive technology. Currently 950 people in Wolverhampton receive Telecare packages, but the council wants to recruit 3,000 new users over the next 3 years - eventually reaching 6,000 people in the city, or around 20% of the local older population
  • increasing the number of hours of domiciliary support offered in Wolverhampton. The council says it will achieve this through efficiencies made by transferring to an external provider the home assisted reablement programme (HARP) currently provided by the council, and its element of the joint Community and Intermediate Care Team, currently run in partnership with the health service
  • commissioning a new specialist reablement service for people with dementia in Wolverhampton
  • approving a formal period of consultation on proposals to transfer services currently provided at Merry Hill House and Nelson Mandela House to external providers and decommission the homes
  • decommissioning Woden Resource Centre and re-providing within the new reablement offer

The proposals will be considered by Cabinet on Wednesday (22 July, 2015).

Councillor Mattu said: "We are committed to helping people maintain their independence for as long as possible, and giving customers choice and control over their services.

"Make no mistake about it, these proposals would mark a big change to the way we do things in Wolverhampton, making use of the latest technology to reduce isolation, and engaging with external providers to maintain high quality reablement services which would in turn reduce demands for more traditional forms of care."

  • released: Wednesday 15 July, 2015