31 May 2016

Care project saves council more than £1.5m a year

A project helping people in Brighton & Hove with health problems to continue living independently has saved Brighton & Hove City Council an estimated £1.5m in its first year.

The council’s ‘Living Well’ scheme targets mainly older people who have low level care needs or who are struggling to cope with aspects of daily living.

The project has a particular focus of supporting people who may need some extra help after a stay in hospital.

The emphasis is on trying to stop smaller health and social care problems from turning into big problems that could lead to people having to go into hospital or a care home.

The project is run by the Council’s CareLink Plus service and utilises a wide range of hi-tech ‘telecare’ support. This can help people to manage their own care, maintain their dignity and independence and get out and about doing the things they enjoy.

These days telecare means a lot more than CareLink Plus’s famous pendant or brooch personal alarm systems, which people can use to call for help if they have a problem. The team can also offer:

  • GPS locators for use outside the home – useful for people with memory problems
  • bed and chair sensors that alert the CareLink Plus team if you have a fall
  • medication reminders
  • heat, flood, pressure and movement detectors
  • epileptic seizure sensors
  • door opening detectors
  • smoke and carbon monoxide sensors.

The CareLink Plus team has worked closely with the local NHS and the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as well as community groups such as Time to Talk Befriending and Crossroads respite care service to deliver the Living Well project.

As well as the technology options, the project has addressed issues such as falls, isolation, carer support and hazards around the home. 

It helped more than 300 people in its first year. The project has cost £283,000 but has generated estimated savings of £1,565,000.

This figure is based on an evaluation of costs that have been avoided on things like care home placements, 999 call-outs, hospital stays, A&E visits, GP visits, day services and night care.

A report on the Living Well project will be presented to the city’s health and wellbeing board on Tuesday 7 June.

The council's lead member for adult social care, Councillor Karen Barford, said: “There’s been a lot of talk nationally about modernising adult care services – but this is it in action.

“By investing in services that prevent major health problems we are helping more people maintain their quality of life while making big savings in the costs of expensive emergency level services.

“The feedback our team has had from the people it has been working with has been fantastic. This is a very popular scheme, and we’re now looking to expand it to reach even more people.”

To find out more about the Living Well scheme or to make a referral please:

  • phone 0300 123 3301 (calls charged at local rate)
  • email LivingWell@brighton-hove.gov.uk
  • visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/carelinkplus