More people with disabilities are finding employment, twice as many vulnerable residents are benefitting from Telecare assistive technology and an increasing number of adults are being supported to live independently in Wolverhampton.
Those are just some of the highlights from the 2016-17 Local Account – the annual report for the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Adult Social Care Services – which details successes, challenges and priorities for the coming year and which was presented to Cabinet last week.
It shows that 4,574 people received adult social care services in Wolverhampton 2016-17, three quarters of them older people, with the council spending 31% of its net budget – or £67.8m – on adult social care services last year.
Among the key achievements in that time is a dramatic increase in the number of people using Telecare – assistive technology which enables people to remain independent for longer in their own homes. With the number of people using Telecare nearly doubling from 760 in 2015-16 to 1,480 in 2016-17, the council is well on its way towards its target of enabling 3,000 people to receive Telecare by 2019.
The number of people with a disability and known to social care who were employed rose by 68% last year – from 19 in 2015-16 to 32 in 2016-17 – and increasing this still further remains a priority in the year ahead.
The council has also further improved the efficiency and effectiveness of its reablement service, which helps people regain skills they may have lost – for instance during an extended stay in hospital – so that they can regain their independence and enjoy greater choice and control over their daily lives.
More people with mental health difficulties were helped to move out of residential or nursing care last year, and the Local Account contains a powerful case study of a man who had lived in solitude in a nursing home for over a decade, but has since moved into supported living and is now enjoying greater physical and mental health.
Meanwhile, the work of the new Promoting Independence Team has helped identify opportunities for many more people to enjoy greater independence and achieve better outcomes.
Also in 2016-17, Wolverhampton became the first council in the West Midlands metropolitan area to develop a joint adults and children’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, bringing together professionals from agencies across the City to assess and respond to safeguarding issues more effectively.
As well as achievements over the previous 12 months, the Local Account identifies the areas which the City of Wolverhampton Council is prioritising for 2017-18. These include a focus on assessing and supporting carers, enabling more people with care and support needs to live in their own homes if they wish, increasing further the number of people receiving Telecare and improving the timeliness of discharges from hospital.
Councillor Sandra Samuels OBE, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “We have ambitious plans to make a real difference for people needing support within Adult Social Care.
“With demand for social care increasing at a time when public funding is falling, we have undertaken a major transformation of our services in recent years, putting the focus on promoting independence as far as possible.
“The positive impact this is having is there to see in the Local Account. We are starting to see, for instance, how Telecare is improving the lives of adults with care and support needs and how our enablement work is maximising independence for people, many of whom may have been in residential or nursing care for many years.
“The care sector makes an enormous contribution to the local economy – adult social care alone is worth £250m-a-year and employs 7,700 people in the City of Wolverhampton – and that’s another reason why we are prioritising the sector.
“We know there are still further improvements to be made, however we are confident that we are on the right track.”