Wheel’s Wonderings: Transformation of adult social care

Are you asleep yet? It’s a mouthful all right.

It’s the governments latest attempt to change the frankly, awful social care system, in the form of *drum roll please* “Personalisation”. Yep. I know. When I first heard the term, I thought, “O-K”.

Gotta love the pencil pushers, right?

Two months ago, my social worker rang me up in a state of anticipation. She  told me that Shropshire had finally joined the pilot (the last county to do so).  We are one of the biggest counties in the UK, so why are we apparently always the last to change?

She seemed to think that this ‘personalisation‘ agenda would be ideal for me, so had nominated me for the pilot.

Fair enough. I had had enough begging social services for care funds for a day out, or paying overinflated charges.

What is Personalisation?
As any of us who have gotten services from the Council know, we have to undergo long winded assessments, every time we need something.

We often have to be classed as “Substantial” or “Moderate” to even stand a chance of getting the things we ask for. This of course, is based on my experiences only.

Personalisation – otherwise referred to as Personal Budgets, powerfully flips the system the other way, from a rigid tick box system to a more flexible way of doing things.

They seem different to Direct Payments in the respect that Direct Payments were a specific amount, had to be used for a specific need, e.g. Care. And the amount of paperwork was such you needed string to find your way back!

Personal Budgets are a specific amount, but can be spent, within reason on whatever you choose. For example, I go to a day centre, but don’t particularly want to, as the range of activities available is somewhat limited, and while I enjoy the social angle of things, the day centre has a mixed range of service users, so most of the activities are not what I am interested in, with the exception of art and gardening of course!

The government’s reform of public services means in theory that people like me can live my life as I want. They say that they are confident that the services will be high quality and it is about ensuring our independance, well-being and dignity.

So this means I can take the money the council spends on my day centre place.

Put it into my budget so that it enables me to use if for the things that I want to do? Go to see a stream train or pursue an art class. So just by doing this seemingly small adjustment, my quality of life has improved already. It can be the same for you!

The next step: getting a budget
I am currently going through the process of getting a budget, so as I go through the system, I will offer my experience and views on each stage of it.

So how do you get a personalisation budget  >  as a result of completing a Standard Question Assessment.

I’ve just done the Standard Question Assessment, one thing I noticed, was that it was much shorter then the other assessments I’ve done.

Each question had four or five options to tick, with a column for you ticking your thoughts, and a column for your social worker or similar to tick their thoughts, with a column for the final decision.

Much easier to use, but the language of some of the options is iffy and a bit confusing, so read each option a couple of times first.

It comes with pounds: Each question or option that I answer equals money – so the*£* signs are showing … or are they?

6 thoughts on “Wheel’s Wonderings: Transformation of adult social care

  1. val Post author

    Ian, This is really good. I like the way that you have set out the blog chronologically – citing your experience of each stage. It might be helpful to start thinking about doing a summary every so often about the questions or issues you have to date, to remind yourself and everyone else reading it? Regards


  2. Sid

    Thanks Ian. Personalisation! hey, I wonder about this mix of care and social. Which one do you reckon will have the priority in term of points. They surely don’t mean that you can apply to go out on the town. How would I write that as I send in my expense sheet to prove how I spent the money!! been to the pub to socialise? It would be useful to have one of these Standard Question Assessment booklet or form online here so we can look at it before we ask for one from the social.

    1. Rubygem

      I find both Sid and Ian’s writings very interesting.

      I was also asked to take part in Pilot 1 of “Personalisation” in Shropshire (project being called by Shropshire “My Life My Choice” because that is exactly what it is!!).

      For me it has been a slow journey but you have to go at your own pace and that is fine because this Personalisation is only a small aspect of the transformations in how Social Care is going to be delivered in the future.

      We have all Care Managers (formally known as Social Workers) and Customers (formally known as Service Users) been on a big learning curve. This has been good for all of us.

      I have filled in and commented on Versions 5, 8 and 10 of The Self Assessments forms and that in itself shows the journey of where we where, to where we are at now.

      I truelly believe the form will require further amendments but there comes a time when you have to stop -say that is it for now.

      All new Care Packages in Shropshire are now going onto Personal Budgets and those current care packages will have a Personal Budget from review date as it is impossible to run two schemes side by side long term.

      During my journey I have experienced excitement, fear, as well as learning from others and meeting some very nice people along the way.

      One of my concerns has been that it appears “you get ya money and do what ya like!” Well it isn’t like that and does not mean you can have a “jolly holi” or spend it on going to the pub each night/day etc.

      My understanding is that to have a personal budget you must still meet the criteria for care-the self assessments is completed and the points allocated for each question are turned into points (or prizes as I call them).

      You then do a support plan to show how you are going to spend your budget-this plan also gives you a chance to look at risks and how things are going to be done,by whom and when.

      If you can show a good use of money that is going to help you to meet Social/ Care needs and it is agreed that is fine. It is about choice.

      Key points are you must write in your support plan how you propose to use the money and it must be approved by your Care Manager and no money can be used for alcohol or drugs etc. (There will be audits and checks. For example I believe hydrotherapy would help me but finding somewhere in Shrewsbury that provides it is proving difficult.

      For me to use some of my budget in this way would help my health.

      Social Life does come into it-there are people who dont want to go to a day centre but can have needs better met in some other way – likewise there are people who need help to get out, meet others etc .

      It will take time to get this transformation right, many people will see little difference to what they already receive but it gives opportunities and I think exciting time are ahead.

  3. alison Post author

    Ruby, Did you know that you can get Hydrotherapy at Shrewsbury Hospital?

    Held ever Thursday at 9.15am at the
    Mercia Hydro Self-Help Hydrotherapy Pool
    Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
    Mytton Oak Road
    Phone Shrewsbury Hospital 01743 261000 for more details.

  4. Rubygem

    Thank you Alison. Unfortunately the hydrotherapy pool at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital closed last year. I am told patients are going to Telford Hospital or Oswestry Orthopaedic so it is difficult for people like myself to get access.. There are no plans to re-open the pool at Shrewsbury and patients are having to go to Telford or Oswestry and this is putting their resources under strain. This gives me additional problems as I need the assistance of a Carer so Care is more costly in terms of time ie travel etc. Does anyone know of a hydrotherapy pool nearer to Shrewsbury please?

  5. alison Post author

    Thanks for that update – we will change the listings as we were not aware that it had closed. We are taking the information from third party websites and quite rightly the information has to be accurate. Thanks again for letting us know.

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