Caring about... Success stories Holistic support for the individual and their home Care Network Hub provides a central place for people to come back to time and time again. For someone who might need information, advice or support for something just the once, or for people who might need the same information or support a second, third (or more) times and for the times a new need arises that may negatively impact on their health, wellbeing and independence. Care Network’s services are a constant and offer help to people to access statutory services, activities run by charities, groups delivered and set up by the community and everything in-between. This case study tells Mick’s story. Mick is one of many who has benefitted from Care Network’s three tiered ‘wellbeing, home and community’ approach. It is told in three parts starting with the first time he came to the Hub and ending in March 2019. Background Mick has chronic epilepsy and can have up to three major seizures each week where he loses consciousness. He also has lots of smaller seizures where he remains conscious. The seizures have impacted on Micks cognitive function, and he struggles with forgetfulness. He also lives with angina, arthritis, dyspraxia, psoriasis, tendinitis, and has had pneumonia twice. Part one – social inclusion and support In 2016, Mick came to Care Network Hub after being signposted by his work coach at the Job Centre. He had been asked to find out about volunteering opportunities. Hub staff spoke with Mick about his life and explained what was available for him to access from the Hub. Over the first six months we helped Mick with the following: Peer Support and meet ups at Care Network Hub: Mick explained that he wasn’t happy with his social life ‘I was talking to people around where I lived, and they didn’t want to talk to me, I was a pest, I knew they didn’t really want to talk to me.’ He started coming to Resolve every Wednesday and enjoyed listening to what everyone had to say. Mick then also started to attend Relax and Chat on Fridays. Supported task around cold home hazards and financial barriers: Mick’s heating wasn’t working in his flat. He didn’t have a phone. He had contacted his housing association twice using the public phone at Shelter Lancashire. Getting the fault fixed was difficult for him. He needed to be at home from the moment he made contact, for 48 hours. He made his way home as quickly as possible but unfortunately they had already made their visit. He decided to put up without central heating. It was a cold Friday in January so Hub staff encouraged Mick to log the fault again to get the heating fixed rather than wait until after the weekend. ‘I get confused very quickly, it‘s telling me to ring all these different numbers all the time, you’re on hold for ages and when I get through they tell me they can’t help me until I get a phone. It’s easy to give up.’ Health and wellbeing improvements (Part 1): Care Network provided information and encouragement to access social inclusion activities and a place to meet friends. He was supported with tasks, given reassurances and support to manage his home better. He was no longer socially isolated and he was living in a warm home again. In the first year of Mick being introduced to Care Network he experienced: improved confidence improved wellbeing happier feelings personal development and learning improved emotional awareness coping better during times of stress. meaningful relationships trusting and relating to others taking responsibility empowerment to ask for help making choices and speaking up to manage his own wellbeing ‘When I came here [Care Network Hub] I didn’t have any friends. I had a habit of hiding in and locking myself away, now I answer the door. I go out to meet people I’ve met here for a brew, I feel like I’m connecting a lot, I’m not isolated anymore. I’m confiding more in people and I’m more open than I used to be... I used to get stressed and angry but that is happening less now.’ Part two - accessing safe accommodation Care Network staff informed Mick about the benefits of assistive technology for people with epilepsy and supported him to self-refer for a telecare assessment from Adult Services Independent Living Service. Because he didn’t have a phone line and had intentions to move property he was advised to get back in touch after he had moved. He understood the importance of arranging an assessment when he moved to his new home. Mick was receiving help to make bids for new properties as the lights on computer screens can trigger seizures and he didn’t have a telephone. However he had been graded as a Band 3 and wasn’t having any success on bidding for properties. Mick was still living in the same block of flats with stairs as the only access and without any telecare support. He had fallen down the stairs during seizures and was at risk of serious injury. With only a bath and no shower he was also at risk of drowning. Care Network staff referred him into Transforming Lives so that BwDBC Housing Needs staff and partners could be informed of the risks imposed by his health conditions, and influence which priority band he was on. Transforming Lives: Micks situation was heard at the panel meeting and he was re-categorized to Band 1, making him priority to move into more suitable social housing. He was supported to bid on properties and found a one bedroom ground floor flat that he was happy with. He moved in April 2017. Health and wellbeing improvements (Part 2): Referring Mick to Transforming Lives allowed for correct categorisation of priority housing in consideration of health needs. He has benefitted in the following ways: suitable living accommodation personal dignity improved physical wellbeing reduced risk of harm prevention of accidents prevention of health deterioration In my new flat, there’s only two steps at the front door and there are rails to grab hold of. One time I tripped and grabbed the railings and didn’t fall. I also had a seizure outside my door, I fell on the grass, at my last flat I would have fallen down the stairs. The man next door has now become a friend and buys me groceries from the shop when I need them. Part three – the powers of persuasion Mick was feeling low due to worrying about his rising fuel costs and not being able to pay his bills. Care Network Hub staff suggested he considered a visit from their colleagues in the Healthy Homes team.Healthy Homes Assessment: The Healthy Homes team went to assess Mick’s new home environment. Staff spoke to Mick and worked with him to understand his concerns, identify risks and provide solutions, support and advice, with the aim of supporting his independence and helping him to maintain a safe, warm and energy efficient home.Tariff check: Over the last twelve months Mick had been repaying a fuel debt, now in credit. Care Network’s Healthy Homes Officer reviewed his fuel tariff and negotiated a reduction in his monthly payments. This gave Mick a saving of £30 per month. Boiler thermostat: Healthy Homes staff altered the boiler thermostat settings to ensure his heating was being used efficiently and showed Mick how he could do this himself. Phone line: A basic phone package to meet Micks financial circumstances allowing for the assistive technology products to be installed was identified by Healthy Homes staff. This package was only available for people receiving health related welfare support. Mick always believed he didn’t have enough disposable income to afford a phone. However, the savings he had now made on his monthly fuel bills and the basic phone package identified made the cost more achievable. Setting up the account and organising the installation of the land line was laborious. From proving his eligibility to incorrect billing, mistakes on charging rates, missed visits and a general lack of knowledge of the product by telecommunications staff, hours were spent on calls on Mick’s behalf. It was only due to the sheer determination of Care Network staff that Mick ended up with the phone line to support his assistive technology. Blackburn with Darwen’s Independent Living Service: Mick was eligible for free Assistive Technology from Blackburn with Darwen’s Independent Living Service. Now the phone line was installed two crucial pieces of technology are helping him to manage his epilepsy, health and to stay safe. Mick also had an Occupational Therapy assessment which led to additional aids and adaptations in his home. Medication reminder: Remembering to take his pills on time is important. Missing medication has serious health implications. Mick has around 30 tablets to take each day. After this equipment has been installed Mick has not missed a dose yet, which has resulted in him having less seizures. Pendant with falls sensor: For the times that he is on his own and has a seizure where he loses consciousness, Mick’s pendant will now allow him to get help when he needs it. Priority Services Register: Mick has been added to this register due to his vulnerabilities. He will now receive extra services including delivery of practical items during a power cut, support around billing and energy related emergencies. Damp, mould and condensation in the home: Some damp areas were identified and Mick plans to tackle this with the help of his family. ‘There’s some mouldy wall paper as someone had blocked off the vent up with sealant. That’s why it’s got mouldy. I’ve got to strip all the woodchip off and re-paper. My brother’s going to help.’ Support to get a bus pass: We signposted Mick to his GP who wrote a letter that was supported by his psychology report. Mick now has a bus pass. ‘What I would spend on the bus fare I buy cereal with – I used to just eat toast but now I can afford Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. I only used to eat one meal but now I have cereal for breakfast too.' Passive Sensor Project: Mick has volunteered to help important research by being a participant in project that will contribute to inroads into people being supported to live independently for longer. A Blackburn with Darwen Public Health and Lancaster University project is currently being piloted where sensors monitor temperature, humidity and movement within the home. Through participating in this scheme, Mick received free Care Network Handyperson time which he used to have some wall tiles re-fixed. Health and wellbeing improvements (Part 3): The advice practical support received from Healthy Homes and the services he had been referred and signposted to has helped Mick to create a healthy and supportive home environment. The team helped him to overcome barriers to the services that there for him to benefit from: improved independence at home improved medication compliance support with memory issues improved medication compliance better management of epilepsy improved health better quality of life reduced risk of harm prevention of accidents more energy efficient home An alarm sounds and there’s a big picture of a tablet that lights up and I go into the kitchen and take my tablets. I used to miss them quite a lot. I’ve noticed that I’m having less seizures. Summary - key wellbeing principles Over the last three years Mick’s life has been transformed. He has made new friends, has a community of support and has moved into suitable accommodation. The assistive technology that has been installed is enabling him to manage his epilepsy and has reduced his seizures and it will hopefully prevent further deterioration to his health. Mick has received support to access services to help him manage different elements of his life. As a result he has seen very real and measurable improvements to his health, wellbeing, safety and independence. With the help and support of Care Network Mick has been supported to have the following key wellbeing principles met: suitable living conditions meaningful relationships being in control of daily life physical and emotional wellbeing personal dignity control of day-to-day life participation in education, training or recreation social and economic wellbeing contribution to society ‘It’s easy to get help from you, it gives me confidence to come forward and speak out. I lacked this before. I love the staff here, I’ve not met anyone kinder than you lot. I’ve recommended you to my neighbour, I think she’s lonely, I don’t know whether or not she will come, but I’ve suggested it to her’.