Devon County Council is launching a review that will help it shape the way it supports people who need to go into residential care in future.
The Council says the proposals will not change the eligibility criteria for people needing support and that anyone needing residential placements will continue to be supported by the council.
The review aims to address the growing demand for social care; the increasing numbers of people with complex needs such as dementia; and that people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
The Council works with the NHS to do everything it can to care for people in their own homes, to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions or prevent long term residential care.
The Council is also developing extra care housing, and wants to invest significantly more, to give people access to care in their home when they need it, with technologies that help them live independently as much as possible.
In a report published today, the Council describes its aim to work more closely with private and voluntary sector care providers to make sure that they are all able to meet the increasing demand and growing complexity of care needed in future.
And it describes their ambition to address a shortage in specialist residential provision for people with dementia.
There are currently around 4,200 people in mostly private or voluntary sector residential or nursing homes in Devon, of which 360 people are cared for in Devon County Council’s own care homes.
The Council recognises that its residential services need to change to reflect the increasing complexity of care being required.
Devon has growing numbers of older people with dementia or mental health needs, and yet there is a shortage of specialist provision in the county.
The Council is developing Dementia Care Centres of Excellence as part of a multi million pound investment programme, and has in the past made funding available to private sector providers to improve their residential provision for people with dementia.
It is also focusing investment on purpose-built extra care housing, which gives people, including people with dementia, access to care in their home when they need it, and technologies that help them live independently as much as possible.
Councillor Stuart Barker, the Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care, said:
“This is not about making changes to the eligibility criteria for people who need the Council’s support. Everyone who needs a residential placement will continue to be supported by the County Council.
“However we do recognise that our services need to change to reflect people’s changing needs.
“For example, many people wish to remain independent and be supported in their own home for as long as possible.
“We know there is an increase in the number of older people with dementia or mental health needs, and we know there is a shortage of specialist accommodation for people with dementia.
“It is important that we are able to respond to people’s needs to ensure that there is the right provision in the right place, and that is what this review, and subsequent strategy will look to do.
“With a growing number of people needing support and a limit on public resources it is essential we act now to build a care system fit for the future.”
The Council says it will be keeping residents and their families informed regularly prior to any decisions being made about their care homes.