A range of support and help for older and vulnerable people this winter is set to be considered by Lancashire County Council.
The council’s cabinet is set to discuss a host of strategies aimed at supporting adults in need in Lancashire during the coming cold months.
Lancashire County Council’s ‘Adult Social Care – Winter Plan 2023-24’ contains a blueprint for the council’s adult social care teams to join forces with the NHS and other partners to tackle anticipated winter challenges across the health and social care sectors until April 2024.
The winter plan sets out how Adult Social Care will manage and respond to the additional pressures on the NHS and adult social care sectors due to factors like increased winter Flu and Covid transmission, extra demand on crisis services, workforce pressures in adult social care, unnecessary hospital admissions and the impact of the cost of living. The plan also aims to support the NHS to maintain hospital capacity during periods of increased demand.
It includes a new Home Care contract covering all areas in Lancashire, measures to help people stay warm and well, additional staff in crisis support and reablement services which help people stay out of hospital or return to their homes more quickly, and improved opportunities for people who need short term care in a care home to regain their independence.
The plan also includes social care and social work services that operate all year, round the clock, such as mental health teams, some care services for older people and adults with disabilities, and a council Emergency Duty Team in case of urgent situations.
There are also plans afoot to ease pressure on hospitals this winter by reducing hospital stays through initiatives like the council’s award winning Home Recovery Hospital Discharge scheme, helping patients leave hospital by overcoming temporary, practical barriers for unpaid carers, and the council’s Mental Health Wellbeing and Positive Ageing beds scheme which supports those with mental health needs on their return home from hospital.
Extra council funding has already gone to care providers through fee uplifts of between nine and 16 per cent this year, meaning extra cash has been made available to care providers and care homes to help them face the additional pressures of the winter months. More funds have been made available for overtime and additional hours in adult social care over the winter, while help is at hand for health and social care staff through services such as the Lancashire & South Cumbria Resilience Hub, a mental health and wellbeing support resource for all public sector workers, care staff and volunteers.
A host of measures is available to help with the impact of the cost of living on people’s health and wellbeing. The council’s Warm Hubs are set to return, along with its Affordable Warmth scheme in partnership with the district councils, with funding available for insulation, door, window and heating improvements, renewable technologies and support for meeting energy bills. To visit the council page on cost of living help, go to Cost of living support – Lancashire County Council.
Similarly, help for families in need is available via the council’s ‘Essential Household Goods Support Scheme,’ which provides free essential household items to people who are struggling to pay to meet their immediate needs, along with help and advice.
A Welfare Rights Service is available by referral to anyone who needs advice and assistance with benefit issues, and it has a special pensioner benefits helpline on 01772 533321 for those over pensionable age. Further information on benefits, how to access the service, and benefits training for professionals can be found here Welfare Rights Service – Lancashire County Council.
Lancashire County council’s Public Health department is still funding a regular check in and welfare telephone call service called ‘Good Day Calls,’ delivered by charity Age UK for vulnerable people who may benefit from remote help to maintain their wellbeing through the winter months.
The council has also created a special ‘Winter’ page on its website which offers advice on how to keep warm and well, information about travel, flooding, gritting and weather forecasts, and details on how to prepare for bad weather with links to advice from the NHS and Lancashire Fire and Rescue.
The ‘Winter’ page also contains useful health advice about avoiding increasing unnecessary pressure on GP surgeries and hospitals, information on vaccinations and encouragement to take care and check on vulnerable people who may be living nearby. For more details, click here.
Lancashire County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “We anticipate that there will be extra pressures on the health and social care system at this time of year and our dedicated winter plan is a vital tool in helping us to ensure people continue to get the support they need to stay fit and well.
“We’ve joined up with partner organisations and worked with them very closely in order to ensure people have the right care to support them to live independently, prevent unnecessary hospital treatment and admissions and to help people be discharged as quickly as possible.
“A host of other measures is also at hand to deal with the challenges, and we will be monitoring the situation very closely to ensure we support the vulnerable people of Lancashire over the coming winter months.”