a TEAM of 150 carers is being recruited to help Fife Council transform its home care service.
The authority is to receive almost £5 million from the Scottish Government’s Change Fund to change the way services are provided to older people, with an emphasis on care at home.
Care staff will deliver a service which promotes independent living by working with people to improve their ability to care from themselves.
The first team began in November 2011 in Dunfermline and West Fife and although it is still early days, almost a third of people have benefited in that they have been able to remain in their own homes.
The next team will start later this month covering Kirkcaldy, and it is expected that all teams will be in place by this summer.
With a recent Age Scotland poll revealing that the main desire of those over 50 and 70, who were currently receiving care, was wanting to live in their own homes more independently, this transition away from the traditional method of care in the community has been welcomed by Fife Elderly Forum and Dr Margaret Hannah, NHS Fife’s deputy director of public health.
“We know that people want to live independently at home for as long as possible.
‘‘Achieving this means offering people a wider range of options, often small scale and very local, involving links with friends, neighbours and volunteers to create opportunities that restore people’s wellbeing and a sense of purpose.
‘‘I see the next phase of development of home care as another step in this direction,” said Dr Hannah.
John McKendrick, co-ordinator of Fife Elderly Forum said: “This is a change to the traditional way that services have been delivered in the past.
‘‘It is clearly devised to put the service user at the centre, enabling them to be cared for at home for as long as is possible.
‘‘This can only be considered to be a good thing.”
Leading the change in Fife is Rona Laing, head of older people’s services, who said: “Our focus is to shift the emphasis from ‘reactive’ services; for example going in at the point of crisis, to proactive, early intervention and rehabilitation at home – this is often referred to as re-ablement.
“A typical situation could be someone who is recovering from a stroke, returning home from hospital after an illness or recovering from a broken leg.
‘‘Through an intensive and personalised care and recovery programme we will help each person reach their goals by using the expertise of home care staff, occupational therapists and social workers. The focus of the service is on improved service delivery with early and intensive care and support to ensure the best possible outcome for each person.”