County Council considers measures to increase older people's care choices

Derbyshire County Council has announced that it will be considering a raft of measures designed to support independent care homes, give older people greater choice in their care and speed up hospital discharges.

At a Cabinet meeting next week (14 September 2017) councillors will consider setting aside £1.75m from the Government's Improved Better Care Fund to ensure the right care and support continues to be available to the county's ageing population.

They will be asked to agree to:

  • Increase fees paid to independent sector care homes to cover extra costs of training staff. If agreed, from 1 October the fee rate would increase by £6.86 to £9.91 per client per week to provide new national standard induction training to all care staff.

  • Pay an extra £15.54 a week to care homes for each older person needing nursing care to ensure enough beds remain available across the county as part of the our duty to promote choice.

  • Pay a seven day retainer to agencies if home care clients are admitted to hospital.   Currently, the authority stops paying for care after 24 hours resulting in cancelled shifts and reduced pay for staff.   If agreed, retainers would help agencies keep staff and speed up hospital discharges as placements would remain open.

  • Increase travel payments to help agencies pay staff travel time.   If agreed, it is hoped this would help to recruit staff, particularly in the most rural parts of the county, with payments per home care visit increasing by 63p to £5.46.

  • Provide training and support to encourage people to consider taking on caring duties in their local community, particularly in rural areas where vacancy rates for home care staff are the highest.

  • Buy 'Red Bags' for use by care home residents when they are admitted to hospital.  They would contain items needed for a stay, including personal details and medicines, are highly visible and help to ensure items do not go missing.

These proposals are being considered following discussions with Derbyshire Care Homes Association, which represents many of the care home agencies, which has called for more funding to sustain the market, promote choice and speed up hospital discharges.

Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Councillor Jean Wharmby said: "As our population ages, the care they need becomes increasingly complex.

"We are committed to helping older people live independent, dignified lives in their own homes but where this isn't possible we need to ensure they have access to a choice of suitable high-quality care.

"In order to do this we need to consider how we support the independent sector as it is vital agencies are in a position to deliver the quality care that is required, while recognising that they also need to look after their staff at the same time.

"Care staff work extremely hard, often doing unsociable hours and sometimes in quite challenging circumstances so we are keen to support them and encourage others to consider a career in caring."