The City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet has approved proposals which it says will transform social care services and help older people in the city remain independent for longer.

The wide ranging plans seek to increase the amount of support offered to older people in their own homes, including providing extra hours of reablement support at home and developing a specialist reablement service for people with dementia.

The council will also increase the number of residents who can use Telecare assistive technology, such as personal alarms and monitoring equipment, which give vulnerable people greater confidence to continue living at home.

At the same time, Cabinet has approved proposals to decommission a number of services currently provided by the city council, including residential care and short stay respite and rehabilitation services, and transfer them to external providers.

Councillor Elias Mattu, the City of Wolverhampton 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.

"These proposals recognise our obligations under the new Care Act, which seeks to use more preventative services to minimise the need for more intensive health and social care support. This is particularly important at a time when we, like other councils, are experiencing rising demand for social care services because people are living longer.

"Over the coming months, we will work closely with service users and their families and carers, as well as staff, who may be affected by these changes."

The proposals approved by Cabinet on Wednesday (22 July, 2015) include:

  • expanding the use of Telecare assistive technology, recruiting 3,000 new users over the next 3 years and eventually reaching 6,000 people in the city, or around 20% of the local older population
  • increasing the number of hours of domiciliary support through efficiencies made by transferring services currently delivered by the council to an external provider
  • commissioning a new specialist reablement service for people with dementia
  • 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
  • approving a formal period of consultation on proposals to decommission Woden Resource Centre and reprovide services within the new reablement offer.

A 12 week period of consultation into the proposals relating to Merry Hill House, Nelson Mandela House and Woden Resource Centre will begin on Monday 3 August, 2015, with service users, their families and carers, staff and other stakeholders invited to have their say. It will include a series of consultation events at the schemes and public meetings in September.

Councillor Mattu said: "These proposals 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: Tuesday 28 July, 2015