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John Power was helped by the council's handyperson service

Independence the key to better lives – and lower costs

Ealing Council is focused on supporting residents to stay in their own homes and keep their independence, a move that is helping reduce costs, according to a new report.

Local authorities in the capital achieved £480million in adult social care savings between 2015/16 and 2017/18 through increased efficiency, according to the research.

Like most boroughs, continued reductions in government funding and rising prices for care mean Ealing is having to find new ways of working to deliver safe and financially sustainable care services.

The council has lost 64% of grant funding from government over the past 10 years and has only 36p for every 100 pence it had before. It still needs to save over £57million by 2020.

Better Lives, an early intervention programme within adults social care, focuses on keeping residents physically and mentally healthy, active and independent.

It offers residents tools that build on their strengths and community connections, promotes independence and keeps in touch with them regularly as their life and care needs change.

The aim of the programme is to make sure people get the right services at the right time, building personalised services around the needs of the cared-for and the carers.

It includes linking to services like the council’s handyperson team, which carries out simple jobs around the home such as fitting smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and unblocking sinks. It has helped people like John Power (pictured above) to live safely and independently in their own homes. We visited John to see how it had helped him.

Promoting independence and keeping in touch with service users much more regularly as their lives change, has meant that the council is:
• Supporting more people at the first point of contact, and offering suitable alternatives
• Doing more reviews of the care and support people are receiving
• Spending less on care overall.

Despite local and national challenges, the council continues to support its residents to be independent and healthy, while delivering efficiencies.

Binda Rai, Ealing Council cabinet member for health and adults’ services, said: “We’ve already delivered new ways of working in children’s services with our award-winning Brighter Futures programme and now we are focusing on Better Lives to make sure an increasing number of vulnerable people get the right services to remain independent, at the right time and at the right cost.”

Read the full report at Future of Adult Social Care.

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