Dudley Disability Service
Dudley Disability Service is the newest service area in adult social care. It was officially launched in July 2018 and bought services from multiple areas together. The goal was to join up disability services and ensure that people had a single service to access rather than being handed from one to another depending on their age and specific needs.
The fully joined up service provides support to children, young people and adults of all ages with special educational needs and/or disabilities, as well as their families and carers. The aim is to enable and support people to live lives that are independent, happy and fulfilling.
What have we done over the last year?
We asked people what they from Dudley Disability Service. Key areas pinpointed are detailed below:
People with complex needs need to have access to safe, high quality services to keep living well
Dudley Disability Service is passionate about providing safe, high quality services and a lot of the work has been done over the last year focused on improving standards.
One major concern was for people with special educational needs, autism and disabilities and the number of changes that they experienced in the services they received after leaving school. The late teens and early 20s are often a challenging period for everyone - with people leaving school, starting their careers and often moving house. To compound this people with disabilities have to face the additional challenge of moving from children’s disability services to adults disability services, often with major changes to the support available to them. Stopping this cliff edge was one of the inspirations behind creating the new joined up disability service. Much work has now taken place in improving the transition pathway from childhood to adulthood.
A wide range of additional measures have been implemented or are underway to improve the way the service operates and to improve the services that are currently provided. This includes investing in preventative technologies which will help maximise the independence of people with disabilities and investing in a new community service model which will help embed ‘Building the Right Support principles’ to help ensure timely support in the community for people with disabilites.
When we have a problem we want to be able to ‘tell our story once’ and trust we will be directed to the best place for help
To make it easier for people to contact Dudley Disability Service we revised customer pathways. This is one straightforward improvement we’ve made to put the customer at the heart of the service in achieving the best possible outcomes for individuals.
The improvement we’ve made to the way our teams are structured mean that there will be more continuity of care, for many people adults services do not become involved until the age of 25 and the transfer from children’s to adults services will be less stressful than it has historically been.
Dudley council has also developed a new vision, ‘One Council’. This vision means that there will be no wrong door to the correct services and regardless of who you call or speak to in the council you will be answered respectfully, helpfully and guided to the services that will be able to support you further.
We want services that are closer to home and help at the earliest opportunity
We have continued to build links with The Black Country Transforming Care Partnership (TCP) to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and/or autism living in hospital so that more people can live in the community, with the right support, close to their home. We are committed to addressing the future of inpatient services and preventing avoidable admissions to inpatient services, encouraging shorter lengths of stay with better reablement provisions when leaving hospital.
In addition our annual health checks programme has helped us get a better understanding of the health of people with learning difficulties. In turn this helps us ensure reasonable adjustments are made whilst enabling access to personal health budgets.
I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation for all of your support and help whilst sorting the funding and care package I need. Your kindness and knowledge have really helped me.
Future working for Dudley Disability Service
Dudley Disability Service have identified four key priority areas they want to focus on in 2019/20:
Improve training and information for care providers so that they can provide better support and are able to make reasonable adjustments. This is being done in partnership with the Black Country Sustainable Transformation Partnership (STP) Transforming Care Programme.
Review the autism diagnostic pathway with partners with the aim of reducing waiting times for specialist services and to achieve timely diagnosis and assessments.
Further invest in personalisation of care to reduce avoidable admissions to inpatient services, enable shorter lengths of hospital stays and end out-of-area placements.
Build on our progress supporting young people in transition.
Remain focussed on health inequalities of the wider population of people with learning disabilities, so we may better understand why they experience poorer physical and mental health when compared to the general population.
Improve provider training and information
Our care providers work with our customers every day and have a crucial role to play in providing the best quality care possible. By providing standardised training we can ensure that they all provide services in consistent way that meets people’s requirements. Providers should also be able to provide information to people to inform them of changes, opportunities or additional support.
Review the autism pathway
It can take far too long for people with suspected autism to receive a timely diagnostic assessment. This has an impact on how quickly services and support can be accessed and provided. We are working with our partner organisations in Dudley to review and improve our pathway to make sure that people suspected of having autism are able to get a timely diagnosis and that they can then access appropriate specialist services within a reasonable time period.
Invest in personalisation of care
Everyone is different, trying to put people in boxes based on shared characteristics and tailoring services to that box might not be what the individual wants and in the worst cases could lead to them receiving care that is counterproductive. The principles of personalisation of care puts the service user at the centre of decision making around their care. By discussing what they want, how they want to receive it and what options are available it possible to improve the care people receive and ensure that they receive the care they want to receive.
Supporting young people in transition
The historic structural challenges faced by young people transitioning from children’s services to adult services was one of the primary reasons for the development of the DDS. With the integration of services we feel that we’ve made significant improvements to the transition but there is still a lot of work to be done. We want to build on the process and continue to improve services for young people in transition and ensure that they receive all the support they should.
Research and understand underlying health equalities
People with learning disabilities suffer from poorer physical and mental health then the general population. They spend a much longer proportion of their lives in poor health and die much younger than the general population. This inequality in the health of SEND populations is something that we want to address and the first step in working out what we can do is to understand why this is happening.