This week my cabinet and I approved new services and projects to improve support for elderly and vulnerable people. Making sure that we can deliver the best possible care and support for our residents is vital. Given the inevitable rise in demand for services from our increasing number of older residents, it is also one of the most important challenges we face.
On Wednesday we agreed a Help to Live at Home scheme to improve our existing home care arrangements. Home care helps people who need support to live independent lives and reconnect with their communities. It ranges from help with washing, getting dressed and taking medication to helping people regain the ability to look after themselves after illness or injury.
The new service will give people more choice, reliability and flexibility.
It will also mean we can provide better cover in more rural areas of Doncaster. The model has been supported by care providers, including Age UK. I look forward to seeing the improvements.
We also approved three initiatives with the Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group that will provide further care and support for local people. A year-long pilot scheme to share best practice in care homes will take place involving 150 care staff ,with the aim of raising standards and support in care homes across Doncaster.
A second project will lead to equipment and training provided to 24 nursing homes, which will enable people to receive medication they need within their nursing home rather than experiencing the disruption of going into hospital.
In order to help more people in Doncaster who suffer from dementia, we are also increasing the number of Dementia Cafes from four to eight per month and there will be two Singing for the Brain groups every month.
This provides extra dementia support capacity and will mean new referrals can increase by 20 per month.
I was also delighted to visit the new Swallowdale Extra Care facility at Edlington this week, which will soon be fully open. This is the first of our new Extra Care schemes for older people and is next to the library, pharmacy and doctor’s surgery. It comprises 52 apartments for rent and 12 apartments plus two bungalows for shared ownership. The homes have access to a 24-hour care service and emergency pull cords. Communal facilities include a restaurant and beauty salon.
A similar scheme in Thorne is planned.
We will also look at the wider housing needs for older people in Doncaster.