Continuing caring into Old Age for parents of adults with learning disabilities

New Forest Mencap has recently commissioned research into the effects of caring for adults with learning disabilities on the parents/carers as they become older themselves.  New Forest Mencap will be hosting an event to disseminate the findings of this research into our local communities so do check back for further information.  In the meantime, here is the link to this important paper https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/looming-crisis-for-family-carers-of-people-with-learning-disabilities/

 

 

New Forest Mencap hosts the monthly Yellow LIG meetings for our area (see map). Participants are people with a learning disability, private care providers, members of Hampshire Adult Services teams, parents, and invited professionals who update us on matters affecting the learning disabled community.Yellow LIG meetings

We have had interesting contributions from the South West Health Trust telling us about their work with Southampton Mencap and Southampton General Hospital in promoting Royal Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign. The Trust aims to improve signage and make menus easier for patients to make selections; it aims to install a Changing Places toilet and has taken into account problems with long waits and will provide a quiet area for those who are disturbed by bustling environments. Voyage Care, a regular LIG participant recommended the Red Bag scheme whereby patients are sent to hospital with, essentially, a ‘grab’ bag containing personalised notes about likes and dislikes and potential behaviours (fear of needles etc), and notes about medication as well as the medication itself if appropriate. The bag should move with the patient as they travel round the hospital so all those attending that person is aware of all issues. The Trust’s representative has made a note to look into the scheme.

The South West Health Trust is also monitoring GP surgeries to ensure that everyone, including the parent carer, is receiving a properly conducted Annual Health Check. The checks should not be rushed, should be conducted by the GP and typically should last for about 40 minutes. The patient should come away with a report. Each GP surgery is awarded a traffic light and our area scores very well for good (green) lights. Each visit is worth £150 (at last count) to the surgery so it is vital that the Trust knows the visit is being conducted properly.

Members of the Accommodation team from Hampshire County Council have also given us briefings about the likelihood of people leaving home and entering supported living. This is a fraught issue with long waits that currently don’t take into account the age of the parents. New Forest Mencap will be attempting to highlight this issue further and press for the Council to acknowledge a family’s needs when parents reach retirement age if not sooner.

We are not aware of a mechanism that alerts the Council to the growing elderly parent population and the need to prepare to accommodate offspring who themselves are living longer. We believe
and we have said, that there should be at least a 5 year forward building plan to take this into account, for which parental agesneed to be captured. Now, this may contravene data protection, but we feel that if we can make a start by parents voluntarily providing details of their age and the age of their son or daughter, a better picture could be formed of what the requirement is going to be.

The Council is also trying to promote private rental and supported living accommodation over having people in care homes. The Fernmount site in New Milton (all flats accounted for) which we have previously highlighted is one such example. The landlord is a private landlord with whom a tenancy agreement is taken out but the Council procurers the onsite care provision. Currently many previous care homes are de-registering and switching to this supported living model.

These are just two of the subjects on the agenda and of course the financial constraints on local government spending is having a great impact on everything we talk about.

Concessionary bus pass

The concessionary bus pass is a national scheme so comes under national rules.

This means that anyone with this bus pass can

  • travel out of region
  • travel at any time of day including morning rush hour. However, be aware that it is Hampshire that has waived the time limitation and another county may not have done the same

People with a disability can apply for the bus pass on-line and it can be used in conjunction with the taxi share scheme.

Companion bus pass

This is NOT part of the national scheme.  It is a concession provided by Hampshire County Council.  Therefore the benefits are not conferred across border into say, Dorset or Southampton (which has its own Unitary Council status).

However, if you start your journey in Hampshire you can go across the county border but, in order to return the companion will need to buy a ticket as far as the county border.  The person with the disability will not have to do this because their own disability bus pass is part of the national scheme.

In addition the Companion Bus Pass has to be applied for by post and not on-line.

For more information you can go to https://myjourneyhampshire.com/

Hampshire County Council has developed a very good web site called Connect to Support Hampshire.  It is an online information and advice guide and directory of services for adults with care and support needs who live in Hampshire.  It is very good.  https://connectsupport.hants.gov.uk/

The Hounsdown Centre based in Totton has launched a scheme to find safe places to which people can go in an emergency or if they are scared.  They are asking shops and business to join the scheme by placing a Safe Place sign at their premises.  The Mencap shop in Ashley Road, New Milton will be pleased to join the scheme.

NHS England would like the support of Mencap network partners to raise awareness and help encourage more people with a learning disability to take up the offer of a free flu jab.

The key messages for people are:

  • See your doctor, nurse or a pharmacist to get the free flu jab
  • Don’t wait – get the flu jab as soon you can
  • The flu jab is free because you need it. If you get very ill you might even need to go to hospital.
  • The flu jab is an injection in your arm. Don’t let this stop you. The doctor, nurse or pharmacist will look after you.
  • The flu jab is very quick and can protect you from getting very ill.

But did you know that if you are a carer, you too are eligible for a free flu jab?

  • Care for someone with a learning disability? Get the flu jab so you do not get ill or pass the virus on.
  • If you are terrified of needles, ask your doctor about the nasal vaccine.

Are you receiving annual health checks regularly?  This is your entitlement and GPs in Hampshire are being trained to recognise their responsibility and what is expected of them. The service is a bit variable but the Lyndhurst Practice has been identified as a centre of excellence.  Both doctor and nurse should be involved in the process although sometimes only the nurse carries out the duty.  If you didn’t receive your health check in 2016 you should make an appointment with your doctor. 

We remind you that carer as well as client is also entitled to a free flu jab.

Day services are currently ‘being reviewed’.  As we already know, Fernmount has closed and it seems that Hounsdown in Totton will also close in the not too distant future.  The trend is for outsourcing day service opportunities to charities and private bodies.  However, currently these day services are not regulated and HCC plans to write in measurement criteria when they sign contracts with private providers.

We heard from Becky Beecham from Ways Into Work which is a social enterprise company aiming to get people into paid employment.  Referral is currently via care managers (which will have to be reviewed in light of the changes mentioned in Access to Social Workers, above).

The company engages with employers, helps them through their selection process (instead of an interview they can arrange for a person to work free for a day or a week to see if they are suitable); they look at job descriptions and if appropriate help the employer to split the role in such a way as to accommodate more than one person of relevant ability; they carry out travel training; arrange Access to Work claims and offer ongoing support.

The company has just moved into the Hampshire area following a successful three years in Berkshire.

You can see more here:  https://www.hantslocaloffer.info/en/Ways_into_Work

At a meeting with the Head of Hampshire’s Learning Disability department we learned of some forthcoming changes on how users and carers access services as from 1st April 2017.

Due to cuts in spending the present direct care manager system will be replaced by a call centre called Hants Direct.  Some social work posts will go.  Another part of the reasoning for this is that social work time is increasingly spent on invoicing and payment issues so this is meant to free them up to tackle issues requiring closer contact.

This means that all enquiries and concerns will be addressed in the first place to the call centre.  This includes queries about direct payments, safeguarding, housing, support and so on.  If signposting is the answer then they will give out that information.  If the need is greater the call centre will refer the case to the Short Term team of social workers.  If the need is greater still, this will be referred to the Long Term team. The New Forest area social workers will still be served from the hub in Totton but from our understanding you will no longer be able to contact them directly.

For safeguarding issues and concerns you can use the call centre facility immediately and we are assured that the matter will be dealt with quickly.

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