June 2017 (annual measure)
The outcome is from the West Sussex County Council Annual Social Care User Survey which was completed in May / June 2017. The England average score is 82.9 %.
In 2016 WSCC scored slightly less than the year before, so a short follow up survey was completed with customers and carers who had volunteered to be part of further survey work. This work was undertaken by the WSCC Quality and Improvement Team and the results showed that a significant number of people were most concerned about ‘slips, trips and falls’ – both at home and in care homes.
A plan was then put into place with both NHS colleagues in the Falls Prevention Service and the WSCC Care and Business Support Team, for a targeted campaign which focused on these issues. The significant improvement in this outcome is a reflection of this work and the increased awareness of such issues.
Care Funding & Advice
To ensure that the residents of West Sussex have access to high quality information and advice about care and support options and the most cost effective ways of paying for this, our Carewise Care Funding scheme was established by Age UK West Sussex, the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), the County Council’s Adults’ Services and Trading Standards departments and West Sussex Partners in Care.
Presentations on the Carewise model have been included in TLAP (Think Local, Act Personal)/Department of Health national workshops held to support local authorities in planning to discharge their duty under the Care Act 2014. Carewise has informed the Department of Health final guidance for local authorities on the provision of financial information and advice.
Here’s how financial advice from a Carewise care fees specialist helped one West Sussex family.
Grace* was 84 when her daughter and lawyer asked for advice on covering her care costs. Grace suffered some physical problems and mild dementia which meant that she needed full-time residential care. Grace owned a house and after it was sold that gave her assets of £210,000. We estimated that if Grace did nothing her money would run down and she would need her care to be paid for by the local authority after seven years.
- Name changed
The potential financial benefits to both individuals and the County Council, and the predicted demographic increase in numbers of older people, particularly those with dementia, over the coming years, means that promotion of the Carewise scheme is imperative. Carefully targeted marketing and promotions campaigns have run from 2014-2018. A marketing campaign for 2018-19 is being planned using evaluation data from previous years to identify successful activities. The marketing aims to ensure that the momentum of past campaigns is maintained and public awareness increased. The 2018-19 campaign will reflect the Adults' Services vision for the future which focuses on increasing people’s independence and wellbeing and encouraging more people to plan early for their long-term care needs in older age.
We know that many people do not immediately want a referral to a care fees specialist but would rather have information in the first instance and then make a measured decision later about whether to proceed. It is, therefore, recognised that the number of referrals is never likely to increase dramatically in a short period of time and that any campaign will take time to yield results. Partners, including the care fees specialists, have advised that the quality of referrals should be a key focus rather than simply aiming to increase the numbers.
Age UK West Sussex provides a free Money Advice service which is part of the Carewise scheme; this service includes benefits advice. Maximising benefit entitlement enables people to purchase care and remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible and can reduce the need for reliance on County Council funding. Increased financial security can also enhance people’s wellbeing, a key principle of the Care Act. In addition, the local economy can benefit from people using their benefits to employ people to provide domiciliary care, personal assistants, gardening etc.
As the 2017-18 targets for referrals to the Carewise care fees specialists were not met, we are maintaining the same targets for this measure for 2018-19 ie 55 people referred to the Carewise care fees specialists per month by the end of March 2019 with an incremental increase throughout the year.
The target for Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service for 2018-19 is to maintain 550 individual sessions per month throughout the year.
Marketing and Promotions
The marketing campaign comprises a wide range of promotional channels including radio advertising, direct mail, social media and digital methods, all of which are subject to robust monitoring and evaluation. As part of the 2017-18 marketing campaign, Carewise was again, one of the main sponsors for West Sussex Care Month which took place during October 2017. This was designed to promote the different care and support options available to residents in West Sussex using a variety of marketing channels such as radio promotions and social media.
There is a focus on promoting Carewise at the ‘point of need’; for example, in residential care homes and to domiciliary care providers, to hospital discharge teams, GPs and solicitors. We continue to issue invites to care home providers to hold Carewise 'surgeries' for their staff, residents and their families and as a result of a recent letter to all providers, further requests have been received. .The template recommending that new care home residents access good financial advice which was developed for inclusion in admission packs, has been updated to resemble more of an information flyer. The flyer was circulated to providers and it is being suggested that existing residents are also included. Carewise is referenced and promoted to care providers via the Contracts regular provider newsletter.West Sussex Partners in Care (representative body for care providers in West Sussex and a Carewise partner) is playing an increased role in promoting Carewise.
Actions being taken:
- Letters sent to residential and domiciliary care providers promoting Carewise and offering surgeries with the care fees specialists. Requests received.
- Direct mailing in January 2019. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of referrals . (January figures awaited)
- Wide range of marketing activities ongoing - including targeting over 50s clubs in sports centres and other venues
- Developing a 'tool kit' for care home providers together with the Contracts Team - to include top tips for discussions relating to finances and paying care home fees
- Promotional information (including reference to the Carewise offer of support to providers) included in the Contracts provider newsletter re-established in December 2017.