Within the previous structure, teams were set up to provide services for individuals with particular diagnosed conditions such as mental illness, disability, learning disability or characteristics such as age. This system failed some people who did not fall into the traditional structure. Previously, such individuals would be passed between teams with case holders having little expertise to meet their unique vulnerability and presentation. Even more concerning was the possibility that they would fall through the net entirely and regularly present challenging issues for all community services such as housing, fire service and police.
The Social Services and Wellbeing Act is clearly a significant driver for change.
The Vulnerable Adults Panel was established in 2011 and subsequently identified a high demand for a service for vulnerable people who did not meet the criteria that other teams were restricted to provide. During 2014-2015, the management team addressed this unmet need through redeploying staff from existing teams to establish a new team which would develop expertise on working with this group of people, with varying yet challenging needs.
We have an established team with 2 social workers, 1 OT, 1 senior support worker 1 OT aid. People within the team are committed to working with vulnerable citizens and support those individuals to achieve the outcomes which are important to the individuals. The Team Manager regularly attends the mental health referrals meetings and identifies cases where there are issues of vulnerability identified but are of a nature that they would not meet the threshold for secondary Mental Health Services. Those cases are then assessed and supported by the team through the person centred approach. The individuals are supported to access universal community resources to help them achieve improved wellbeing. The team have implemented an outcome assessment tool and an effective outcome measures tool which they are piloting within their first year.
What difference has it made?
We have successfully supported a number of people to change their lives and become more integrated into their local community.
One of the individuals we help suffered with Asperger’s. He had struggled throughout his childhood and found attending college and accessing the community extremely challenging. The support worker developed an appropriate relationship with the individual and supported him on a weekly basis to attend college and help to build his confidence to a point where he was able to attend college on his own. He has continued to develop his confidence and now is holding down a voluntary job in a local charity shop. His family have commented on the difference in this young man and tensions at home have been relieved.
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