Our survey of care home managers and sheltered scheme managers reveals that some residents are not receiving a level of social care that meets their needs.
One scheme manager told us:
“They (residents) are alone for 10-12 hours. Some have difficulty and become distressed if they soil themselves. If there was a fire, there’s no way they could get out by themselves.”
The survey looked into the timescales for people in supported accommodation receiving a care assessment, a review or delivery of a care package from Lambeth Council.
We found that although scheme managers reported no widespread delays in carrying out assessment or delivering care packages, some residents living in supported accommodation were in need of an assessment or review. We suggest that better promotion of the assessment referral process could be useful, both to residents and their families, and to scheme managers. We were also surprised to learn that the Council doesn’t track wait times for assessments and care packages and we encourage its managers to investigate ways to do this.
Richard Sparkes, General Operations Manager, Lambeth Council, said in response to our findings:
“Lambeth adult social care welcomes Healthwatch’s report and the opportunity to consider the findings from this piece of research looking at assessment and review experiences within sheltered housing and supported living schemes.
The implementation of the Care Act in 2014 required us to make changes to our approach to adult social care assessments and reviews. This report offers a timely opportunity to for us to consider the effectiveness of those changes.
Our priority is always to ensure that people most at risk receive a timely response. The Initial Contact Service has the important role of ensuring this happens. The staff are skilled in dealing with risk and prioritising work to ensure that appropriate advice and outcomes are achieved but this is not an easy task and we recognise that sometimes we don’t get this right.
Helping people to continue to live independently in their communities is important and we welcome opportunities to receive feedback from our colleagues and partners in housing”.
The Council’s Adult Social Care Initial Contact Team also told us they were surprised by feedback from Age UK Lambeth in the report about apparent expectations for Age UK to carry out assessments. The Initial Contact Team stressed that there is clear understanding that assessment responsibilities have not been devolved to Age UK and remain with Lambeth Adult Social Care.
The survey was part of a national Healthwatch investigation, in response to reported assessment and care package delays in other parts of the country.
We plan to use our upcoming review of home care to find out whether people living in unsupported accommodation are experiencing delays. We also welcome Lambeth Council’s invitation to gather feedback from individuals who have received an assessment, as a contribution to its quality check processes.