Children and adults with disabilities and health conditions, no matter how complex, want to receive their care and support at home and in their local communities. This is what is important to them.
There are many families in Wales providing unpaid care and support to family, friends and neighbours and it is important that we value their contribution, acknowledging they will have needs for advice and support in their caring role. Care and support is also delivered by a range of providers, as part of the function of social care and housing support services.
There are often misunderstandings about what social care is and how it is different to healthcare. One way of thinking about social care is to consider how you would continue to enjoy your current life if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself or your friend in a difficult personal situation. Your friend may have a particular health condition, disability or suffered an accident, leaving them with mobility problems or needing help with personal hygiene or getting out and about to meet friends or take part in activities. They may have a mental illness or a learning disability, which means they are not always able to make the best decisions to enjoy life, and may be vulnerable and need safeguarding from potential harm. If you have a health condition or a disability social care workers liaise with health professionals to understand your situation and any treatment plan, so that their support complements the clinical care provided by the NHS.
Social care workers will often plan and deliver re-ablement support to help you adjust to your new situation and help you achieve dignity, independence and improved well-being. Local authority social services departments are responsible for assessing and commissioning your care and support and many providers in the independent and third sector deliver that service direct to you.
The Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) has recently published its report on the state of home care (domiciliary care) provision in Wales. The report highlights the excellent work carried out to support very vulnerable people but also identifies areas for attention, including the need to upskill and professionalise the workforce. It is recognised that people with complex needs require new skills and models of care to support them to maintain their dignity and independence.
Care Council for Wales is using the report to develop a strategy to improve care and support at home, through working with partners to deliver change. Our role is to regulate most social care workers through registration, education and learning, codes of practice, and considering fitness to practise when there are concerns. Social Care Wales will be extending the registration requirements to all formal home care workers by 2020. We are working with Qualifications Wales to develop appropriate learning resources to equip the workforce with the right values, knowledge and skills. Our ethos is Regulation for Improvement and the register provides public assurance that all those professionals who are registered demonstrate the core competencies for their specific role.
There is great practice across Wales but it is patchy and the sector is committed to share and roll out best practice. We are delighted to be working with all the stakeholders to help make this happen.
About the Author
Sue Evans is Chief Executive of the Care Council for Wales. She has a keen interest in promoting the importance of the role of social care in helping to safeguard and improve people's lives, through empowerment as well as support. Sue was writing on the Care Council for Wales website: http://www.ccwales.org.uk