News from Sutton LINk
LINK COMMENTS FOLLOWING EXECUTIVE MEETING.
14 July 2011
LINk members are not reassured that residential care in general and more specifically for those with dementia is ‘good enough' and will therefore proceed with its planned programme of monitoring visits to care homes in Sutton. The council also commission places outside Sutton and LINk are concerned as to how these can be monitored.
Neither is LINk reassured that the selling off of a valuable dementia resource (Oakleigh Care Centre) is justified as “personalisation is the way forward” and offers people more choice. Personalisation will be undermined by council budget cuts. Ruth Cartwright manager for England BASW has stated council cuts could finish personalisation off. “
Evidence nationally suggests, generally, people are buying the same services with their budgets as were provided before. Community Care's annual personalisation survey commissioned by Unison identifies that “ social care professionals support for personalisation is plummeting and only a minority now believe personal budgets will benefit users in the medium to long term” In the survey almost half thought personal budgets were not sufficient to help users meet their needs. Jeff Jerome national director for social care transformation states “councils are encouraged to take a conservative and cautious approach”
LINk is specifically concerned about the loss of trained staff and expertise and will be monitoring this on its visits to care homes. LINk would be interested in working with the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny committee to look at staff training and qualifications in Sutton's Care Homes and follow up on what the council are doing to improve training for care home staff and the standards of qualifications expected of care staff.
LINk notes that the proceeds from any sale of Oakleigh will not be available until 2013 so what additional community services will be offered in the meantime?
We are told that there is under use of respite care because people prefer to stay at home, LINk members say this is more because respite places offered are so unattractive?
SELECTION OF COMMENTS
What training do commissioning officers have in dementia care?
Mixing services for those with dementia with services offered to people with learning disabilities and older people without dementia is far from ideal.
It would seem that the council believe that those with learning disabilities and dementia have similar needs - People at Orchard Hill moved from residential care could be expected to improve outside an institution with more stimulation but this is not comparable with someone with dementia who will inevitably deteriorate.
“The increase in the number of safeguarding reports suggests people are becoming more vigilant.” – could this also be that there are more safeguarding incidents to report on?!
How many of the care homes visited by councillors looked at staff qualifications, ability to speak English clearly and checked how many residents with dementia are on anti psychotic medication. We were told no one at Oakleigh is on such medication as staff are trained to deal with them. Something for LINk to explore further.
Why were Housing 21 not charged for renting space for the provision of the day service and the income off set against costs?
Anecdotal evidence suggests many self funders will pay in excess of £1000 per week for quality care. So why can't Oakleigh do this having looked to cut costs by having more independence from council finance.
I don't know what our resources will allow but I would certainly like to do some more work in challenging the current attitudes towards care. They fall back and say that people want more care at home, yet cut back the length of carers visits etc,