Fewer pensioners being forced into care homes

There are fewer elderly people in Bucks going into care homes
There are fewer elderly people in Bucks going into care homes

More elderly people in Bucks are able to stay in their own homes rather than being moved into residential care, according to new figures.

In Bucks, permanent admissions to a care home reduced year on year from 664.4 to 553.5 per 100,000 of the population aged 65 or over. This represented a 16.7% decrease for 2014/15.

Senior officials believe the success is partially down to Bucks County Council’s ‘Prevention Matters’ strategy which was launched two years ago and provides early support for vulnerable adults before their problems become serious.

Ali Bulman, the council’s adult social care boss, said: “Living at home with the proper support is far more beneficial for people, as well as more cost effective for the taxpayer, and we are determined to equip our residents with the advice and help to ensure they stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

“Prevention Matters means we try to nip problems in the bud for people, and that we don’t wait until they need to go into residential care before we step in.

“But Prevention Matters is not the only strategy we have used here. I am very proud of our staff who are committed to improving outcomes for the public and have worked so tirelessly and creatively to support them to stay at home in a variety of ways, such as the use of telecare.”

The data shows that the council is performing significantly better than last year’s national average in supporting its older population to live independently.

In England, the 2013/14 figure was 650.6 admissions; in the South East it was 625.8. The 2014/15 figures for England and the South East have not currently been released.

The figures for Bucks were branded ‘fantastic’ by county council deputy leader Mike Appleyard.

He said: “These statistics show how seriously and effectively this council is treating the care of the elderly and the vulnerable and they are a fabulous testament to the work of our dedicated team of professionals.

“We have a growing elderly population and it’s a huge task to look after the social care of so many people across such a large geographical area, but this performance shows we are doing it well at present. My job is to ensure that we keep this up and improve even further.”

Prevention Matters, launched in July 2013, set out to bring together the county council, the NHS, the voluntary sector and district councils in a ‘joined-up approach’ to catching vulnerable adults in need before personal health or social problems become critical.

The programme promised considerable financial savings by avoiding costly treatment and care, while seeking to enhance individual wellbeing by maintaining health and independence.

It works through a network of community practice workers, managed through the voluntary sector, who liaise with GP surgeries to identify vulnerable people who might benefit from a free programme of support offering practical solutions to social or health problems that may be beginning to affect their lives.

There is also a team of community links officers whose job it is to help develop services in the community which can form part of the programme of support for individuals.