Social Care stepping up to meet winter pressures

Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care teams are stepping up to help address the pressures facing health services across the County.

Extra social workers have been placed in hospitals since November and are working seven days a week alongside health colleagues and families to discharge patients.

Earlier this week, on one day alone, 50 patients were discharged from Somerset’s hospitals either back to their own homes or into residential or nursing homes.

This winter has seen unprecedented pressures on the whole health and social care system. The numbers of people seeking social care support for discharge from the County’s hospitals was almost 30% higher in December 2014 than the year before.

As well as assigning extra staff, the Council is also making more use of optional short term ‘step-down’ care home placements. These allow people to leave hospital while the details of the right long-term permanent placement are agreed with the individual, their families and care providers. This could be back to their own home with support or adaptations, or to a care home.

Cllr William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We are putting in extra resources and have really stepped up our work with health colleagues and care providers. These are challenging times for the whole system and everyone is working closely together to cope with it.

“When people are medically ready to leave hospital, social care and health staff are making the discharges as quickly as possible. But the placements have to be right for the patients and family – or they will fail and the patient will be straight back into hospital.

“This is a challenging time, but the right people are working closely together to deal with it and my thanks go to all those staff working extremely hard at this time.”