Details of a major £50m investment in services that will help ease pressure on the NHS by preventing unnecessary admissions and delayed discharges from hospital and residential care have been unveiled by the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas.
The Intermediate Care Fund, which was announced as a key part of the Welsh Government’s 2014-15 Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats in October 2013, will invest in services that support older people, particularly the frail elderly, to maintain their independence and remain in their own home.
The investment will drive forward joint working between local authority social services, health and housing, along with third and independent sector partners.
The funding has been allocated on the Regional Collaborative Footprint basis of Cardiff and Vale, Cwm Taf, Mid and West, North Wales, Western Bay and Gwent.
Projects that have been funded include:
- In Cardiff and the Vale, a ‘Smart House’ will be created to raise awareness and provide an opportunity for older people and their family to see and try out what can be provided in the home environment. Specialist accommodation teams will be established to work with health and social care to develop appropriate housing responses for older people at point of admission and discharge.
- In Cwm Taf, an integrated @home service will focus on maintaining older people’s independence at home and avoiding hospital admission. The Butterfly project will be extended to improve practice for older people with dementia – to cover more residential and nursing homes as well as extending to domiciliary care.
- In North Wales, a 24/7 Health and Social care support service will be established to provide a overnight planned and crisis intervention support service, delivered by appropriately trained generic support workers, in order to avoid untimely admissions to hospital and residential care.
- In Gwent, there will be an increased provision of services for older people at home and in care homes/sheltered housing. A new service to support people with dementia and stroke in their own home will also be developed.
- In the Western Bay area, there will be additional reablement services including occupational therapists to support independence at home. They will also establish common access points to direct people to appropriate services or interventions according to need.
- In Mid and West Wales, additional flexible intermediate care beds, intermediate care flats and dementia ‘move-on’ flats will be established. There will also be support by the third sector to develop twilight services for people when they return home from hospital.
Gwenda Thomas said:“Our £50m Intermediate Care Fund provides an excellent opportunity to make a real difference to older people across Wales.
“The investments I’m announcing today will see health, housing and social services, along with the third and independent sectors, work together on some very innovative projects to enable older people to maintain their independence and remain in their own home.
“This will help ease pressure on the NHS by preventing unnecessary hospital and residential care admissions, and will also help prevent delayed discharges from hospitals and other care settings for older people, particularly the frail elderly.
“The investments will also promote and maximise independent living opportunities, including ensuring increased provision of timely home adaptations in response to referrals from health and care services, as well as support recovery and recuperation by increasing the provision of reablement services.”