First published in John O’Groat Journal in July 2019
NHS Highland have said that they want to reduce the number of patients having to go into Hospital by bringing health care closer to home. This plan will include more actual care at home, I hope to elaborate on this in the future.
I recently met with Lesley, the Care at Home Manager and Jenny, a Care at Home Officer who explained what currently happens at the moment.
Referrals for care can come from a number of places; a doctor or other medical professional, the Social Work Dept, relatives or friends.
Its aim is to provide a comprehensive service to those who are eligible to enable them to remain active and living independently in their own home for as long as possible. Eligibility is based on an assessment of needs which is carried out by a member of the Care at Home team. They will look at care needs and how these can be met. Individual patient needs can vary from changing bandages to palliative care at home.
The Care at Home service works closely with GP’s, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and hospital staff to provide a holistic health and social care service.
The service is delivered by a dedicated and highly skilled team of care staff and is a vital and much valued service to those receiving it.
The Care at Home team provide home based care between 7am and 2pm and 5pm to 10pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The service has developed significantly, from its origins, providing a mostly domestic home help service, to now providing all aspects of personal care.
The care worker also provides a vital social link for those living alone, who may otherwise have very little contact with the world outside their homes.
All those receiving a care at home service have a personal support plan and they and their family are encouraged to contribute to this as much as possible. All care packages are regularly reviewed.
The Care at Home service commissions service from four independent sector providers (Birchwood Highland, CarrGomm, Eildon and PPP) and all work closely together to ensure a seamless and high quality service.
In addition to the mainstream Care at Home service, there is a small but perfectly formed Enablement team who work closely with those who have suffered a recent illness, hospital admission or other life altering experience, helping them to regain their independence and skills, or to adapt to a change in circumstances.
They work between 8am and 2pm and 5pm to 10pm and provide a short term service of 6-8 weeks duration, working closely with those referred to them to agree on what they wish to achieve and then help meet these goals.
Many of those who have received this service meet all their goals and are enable to fully regain their independence.
If they are assessed as needing additional, ongoing support they will be referred to the mainstream Care at Home service.
Enablement is an excellent service, which it is hoped will continue to grow over the coming months and years.
Care at Home is a registered service and is subject to inspection from the Care Inspectorate annually. The last inspection was carried out in November 2018 and the service was deemed to be “very good”. All staff are provided with comprehensive training which includes completion of an SVQ2/3 in Health and Social Care and professional registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
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