‘Your life, your well-being’
Vision and Strategy for Adult Social Care
Maidstone Borough Council’s Response
Communities, Housing and Environment Committee
Maidstone Borough Council is encouraged by the release of the draft strategy for adult social care across Kent, ‘Your life, your well-being’ as we are expected to see a 45.4% increase of residents aged 60 – 85 by 2034 within the Maidstone Borough.
As the strategy and data demonstrates society is living longer and as a result will produce new challenges for our health and social care system. Therefore, we must act now to maintain wellbeing throughout life; improve the quality of life for older people and enable them to participate fully in society; and ensure everyone can access the tools and facilities to help them live a long and healthy life.
As a district council we have an important role to play in contributing to the strategy and assist Kent in delivering its vision ‘to help people to improve or maintain their wellbeing and live as independently as possible’ through our statutory functions such as:
· Housing – ensure residents are able to remain safe and live independently in their own homes through providing support to home owners, tenants and landlords; enforcement action; working with GP’s to identify those ‘at risk’ and; the facilitation of disabled facilities grants.
· Community safety – enabling residents to feel safe within their home and community through safeguarding; and raising awareness of abuse and neglect.
· Parks and leisure – promoting wellbeing and supporting independence through providing access to green spaces and leisure opportunities within the borough.
· Economic development - promotion of volunteering, job opportunities, and social groups to aid social inclusion and promote independence.
Older people in our society deserve every opportunity to age well, in communities that value their experience. Local concerns need local solution.
The draft strategy has a clear focus on ensuring delivery of statutory responsibilities, whilst capturing all available opportunities to prevent, reduce or delay need for ongoing support.
Councils can take the lead in developing innovating ageing well approaches. Services provided should be based on evidence of what works, should be of high quality and accessible, irrespective of the level of need or who is delivering the service. Service users, including carers should have involvement in the development, commissioning and delivery stages.
As the strategy highlights there are a number of key challenges in delivering adult social care over the coming years:
· Ageing population.
· People living for longer, some with lifelong conditions therefore requiring medication/care for a longer period.
· Reduction in resources and finances across organisations due to economic climate.
· How to engage the disengaged to be able to provide preventative services for those who need help most. Need to ensure the whole population is looked at including homeless individuals; service personnel and those being integrated back into community through relocation or release from prison.
· Lack of engagement from GP’s to provide community hub due to lack of time, resources and high workload.
· Turnover of health and social care staff
These challenges are not going to go away; we therefore need to work in partnership to increase benefits through wider collaboration, additional funding, mutual advantage and resources only accessed through partnership working.
We are pleased to see the strategy recognises the benefits of working in partnership across a blend of statutory and voluntary sectors. We believe this will create a synergy for organisations to work together and move towards the shared goals and purposes. However; the strategy does not make clear how this will be executed, what will be done differently and the key roles for Kent County Council and the NHS.
Maidstone Borough Council operates a whole system approach by ‘Making Every Contact Count’. This approach encourages conversations based on behavior change methodologies (ranging from brief advice, to more advanced behavior chance techniques), empowering healthier lifestyle choices and exploring the wider social determinants that influence all of our health.
This needs to be reflected within the strategy as Making Every Contact Count is a public health initiative that can contribute positively to the adult social care strategy, particularly signposting to the information and advice system (due to be developed by 2021).
This information can also be provided by the ‘Doris’ system to ensure GP’s and health professionals have access to social prescribing.
As part of the development of the strategy, you have linked and referenced to other key local strategies. However, we feel an important strategy has been missed – Kent County Council’s Mind the Gap 2016. Mind the Gap is Kent’s Health Inequalities Action Plan which aims to improve health and wellbeing for everyone in Kent by narrowing the gap in health status between the most and deprived communities. The 2016 strategy takes on a community asset mapping and community development approach within lower super output areas; in Maidstone these are Park Wood, Shepway and High Street. The increase of ageing population may not be bound to these areas so a whole system approach is required.
Maidstone Borough Council is currently refreshing its own Health Inequalities Action Plan with a focus on ‘ageing well’. This may provide excellent opportunities for partnership working through communication, sharing of resources, knowledge and commissioning.
Some questions have arisen through the development of the strategy which we seek further clarification on:
1) How is the Adult Social Care Strategy linked in with Kent Public Health commissioning intentions?
2) How much funding is associated with the strategy for commissioning of services? What services are currently commissioned / up for review?
3) Will the Community Hubs link in with the existing provision provided by NHS Health and Social Care Coordinators?
4) How will you ensure you ‘…make the best use of digital technology to share information between partners?’ This is a struggle we face currently as although we endeavor to work together, we are told information cannot be shared due to data protection.
5) When you refer to safeguarding and protecting adults at risk of abuse or neglect; does this include self-neglect through lifestyle choice?
6) Through the models of care and support the strategy states ‘ensure community development and increasing volunteering, befriending and good-neighbour schemes’. Will this be achieved through commissioning?
7) What is the link between the strategies for 16-18 year olds in transition to adult services and what protocols are in place to ensure they are not lost in transition?
Recommendations for Maidstone Borough Council
For Maidstone Borough Council to support the development and delivery of Kent’s Adult Social Care Strategy through its statutory functions and the Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board, Ageing Well Sub Group. The strategy demonstrates clear links between social care and the wider determinants of health.
To work collaboratively with organisations operating in Maidstone to identify those residents ‘at risk’ and provide extra support through partnership meetings; application for a disabled facilities grant; attendance/feedback with hospital discharge planning; and sharing of resources.
Recommendations for Kent County Council
To assist with the increase use of digital technology, purchase iPads for staff to complete appointments remotely via facetime or submit referrals whilst on home visits.
Raise awareness of the commissioned services to organisations and residents to ensure the knowledge is available to signpost.
Provide further detail in the strategy as to how the vision will be achieved.