Report gives a ‘great insight’ into Local Social Care

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2017)

Torbay’s independent consumer champion for health and social care Healthwatch Torbay have been working with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust to help improve their social care assessment process.

Healthwatch Torbay – a registered charity – use real patient feedback to make recommendations for change to health & social care providers. The aim of social care assessments is to support a client’s needs to maintain living independently at home, or support transfer to a residential or nursing care home.

Healthwatch recently took part in a pilot project to review of the effectiveness of social care assessments carried out by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, after members of the public contacted them to raise issues with the process and its ‘inconsistent’ approach.

Healthwatch Torbay contacted 128 clients who had received a social care assessment during September 2016 and arranged for an authorised representative from their Enter and View team to speak with those who wanted to share their experiences. They have since produced a report on their feedback with recommendations made to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The report states that the majority of clients received an assessment within four weeks, with 84% rating the quality of their assessment as good. However, it also highlights that over a third felt they didn’t have the opportunity to discuss the most important aspects to their own health and wellbeing during the assessment process, and, that 42% of clients had not been provided with a copy of their care plan. The report also mentions a lack of clarity with clients on whether they had even received a recent social care assessment.

The report recommends that a wider scope of client experience be undertaken to ensure clients are aware of the reasons for the visit, have a clear single point of contact for ongoing communication, and have a clear outline about what to expect as a result of the assessment.

It also requests Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust review the process of ensuring clients receive a copy of their care plan, enabling them to set their own aims and then secure the support and care needed to achieve them.

Caroline Taylor, Director for Adult Social Services at Torbay Council, thanked Healthwatch Torbay:
“Thank you Healthwatch for producing this useful report which provides a great insight into our residents experiences of their social care assessment which are largely positive. The recommendations given provide Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust further ideas on how we can improve the service we deliver. Ensuring our residents receive the right help and care remains our main priority, and we will work hard to ensure everyone receives the same high quality of advice, guidance and support.”

Joanna Williams, Associate Director for Social Care at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said:
 “Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay Council would like to thank Healthwatch for this useful report, focussing on how people have experienced their social care assessment. It’s encouraging to see so many positive comments, and a real testament to the staff who are working every day to provide a person centred service.

We are going to learn from the concerns people have expressed, especially about making sure we are clear that we have sent people a copy of their plan and focussing on what is important to people.”

Healthwatch Torbay Chair Dr Kevin Dixon commented:
“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the questionnaire and provide feedback about their experience of the social care assessment process. We would also like to thank Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust for their support. We will reflect on the findings from the report, together with the issues received directly to us and continue to monitor and raise any concerns received from the public regarding the quality of adult social care assessments.”

The report is available online via www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk. Torbay residents can use this website to share their local health and social care experiences by rating and reviewing a local health & social care service directly online. They can also do this by calling Healthwatch free on 08000 520 029.

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