Personalisation: a continuing journey
Many social care services have been transformed over the last ten years. Personal budgets, direct payments are a catalyst for changing lives. But unlike children who ask "have we arrived yet?" personalisation can be seen as a continuing journey, without a clear end point. Perhaps in the words of James T Kirk "to boldly go where no one has gone before" is more accurate.
It is not just about meeting individual need in a way that enhances choice and individual aspiration, but co-production and sharing responsibility with individuals, groups and communities for what is available in the context of reducing resources and increasing need.
It is also about helping people to remain as independent as possible and to reduce the number of people needing long term support. This is often forgotten and prevention is a key cornerstone of the Care Bill.
The growth of personalisation as an approach is to be extended, most imminently in the health service but also across a wider range of services and facilities, which often underserve people who have social care needs.
So looking ahead where will the next part of the journey take us? We are already starting to see this.....
The integration of health and care through personal and health budgets
More focus on measuring outcomes rather than outputs
A new commissioning model embedding quality and the delivery of outcomes
A greater focus on prevention and building the community offer
More people taking their PB as a direct payment
With the increasing financial pressures on Local Authorities what we mustn't lose sight of is that impact personalisation has had on people's lives. To illustrate, this is the view of a family member whose aunt has dementia and receives a personal budget via a direct payment.
"Can I just say that the help our aunt is receiving from the Personal Assistant (PA) is of great benefit to her. The direct payment system seems to be working for us"
"My aunt now has structure to her day, the PA ensures that our aunt takes her medication and supplies her with hot meals. The PA has gained my aunt's confidence and is able to assist with some personal care, which we weren't sure she would accept initially. It takes some pressure off us, as both myself and my brothers work and have families, so it's difficult for us to be there as often as my aunt needs. However, it is comforting to know that someone we can trust is helping our aunt and is able to liaise with us and alert us to any concerns".
This is a journey worth continuing