Ensuring a diverse, vibrant, sustainable and quality market for Adult Social Care is a key duty for all local authorities under market shaping requirements of the Care Act 2014. This commissioning strategy supports meeting that duty in respect of extra care housing.
The development extra-care housing in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is a necessary measure to deliver on the Council’s commitments to both promote greater independence and to reduce the numbers of people entering residential care. There are a variety of shapes that extra-care housing provision can take and BCP Council needs to ensure that it has a good range and span of schemes and options.
AThe Director of Commissioning for People introduced the Extra Care Housing Strategy for Vulnerable Adults and Older People report. The main points of the presentation were:
· The strategy had been developed in conjunction with the Institute of Public Care with support from the Local Government Association.
· The strategy was developed using extensive collection of data and detailed analysis.
· There had been limited consultation due to the pandemic.
· The strategy should be considered alongside other Council initiatives and strategies, such as the Big Plan.
· Extra care housing is often associated with older people where occupants have specific tenure rights to occupy self-contained dwellings and where they have agreements that cover the provision care, support, domestic community or other services.
· Many properties involved will be self-contained and will be utilised by younger adults of working age with mental or learning disabilities.
· Many accommodation schemes do not fit the criteria of broader care and support on site, often required for 24 hours a day. There are a limited number of extra care housing schemes across BCP; 560 units across a number of BCP sites. Some of the units are purpose built and others are converted from sheltered housing stocks or were initially older care specifically.
· A large number of retirement schemes are in place, over 6000 units, however these generally do not provide care and support.
· Care and housing schemes together can meet the needs of a wide range of groups. A good extra care scheme is reliant upon high quality and appropriate accommodation.
· The strategy includes an aim to expand care housing provision and modelling would suggest that at least 1000 additional units are needed. These must support adults of all ages, meeting the variety of need levels.
· Technology in extra care housing will have a big role to play, because it boosts independence, for example the use of zoom calls and virtual doctors’ appointments. This increase in technology is not designed to take away or reduce personal care, but to compliment the human touch of care.
· The profile of extra care housing needs to be raised and promoted better across BCP.
· To significantly increase extra care housing units over next 5-10 years.
· Identify specialist sites with companies and developers to meet people’s needs as best as possible.
· To develop larger extra care ‘villages’ and communities with access to community facilities.
· To develop the social care workforce to embed the right skills and competencies required in the operation of extra-care housing schemes.
The Committee asked several questions following the report. Answers were provided by the Director of Commissioning for People. The questions and responses were:
· A member asked about the inclusion of green spaces in the strategy, to which the Committee heard that the Director of Commissioning for People had met with the Chair of planning on this matter. The hope was for extra care villages to include green space or be near to community spaces. Other, similar schemes had included sensory gardens, exercise spaces, hydrotherapy pools and gyms. These spaces shouldn’t just be there for the residents of that community but also for the public as there is an aim to involve people who want to come in and use the facilities.
· A member raised the matter of dementia and the Committee heard that a big challenge for people with dementia was that change prevents settling. Going into extra care housing is a lifestyle choice as well as care choice and it actually might be beneficial to make the move before you are in a position where it is more difficult. The aim is not to silo people and to make an inclusive scheme involving different people and voices that works to break down the stigma around dementia. There is a scheme in Poole mixing young autistic people with learning difficulties and older, frailer people with dementia and it has grown into a successful scheme. Self-funders can help the development scheme if they wish to buy property or part buy.
· A member asked for pets to be accommodated in care housing and stated how separating owners from their pets following re-housing can cause distress. The member referenced the positive and successful work of the Cinnamon Trust, a charity that provides support for elderly and terminally ill people with pets. The organization relies on volunteers to walk dogs, transport pets, and foster pets whose owners have difficulty caring for them.
Members noted that this strategy was a positive step of progress towards preventing isolation and it was moved and seconded that the following recommendation be made to Cabinet:
a) “This Committee recommends that Cabinet, working with relevant officers in both planning and adult social care, be asked to make submissions to the Local Plan Working Group, regarding the provision of Extra Care Housing.”
RESOLVED that, in addition to the above recommendation to Cabinet, the Committee note the report.