Improving care for the older and disabled

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A NEW register hopes to create job opportunities and improve care for older and disabled people.

A Support Worker Register is being developed by Northumberland Care Trust for older and disabled people who use a personal budget in Northumberland and want to employ a personal assistant.

The register will state who people are, what hours they want to work and what particular interests they have, so that older and disabled people can get better information to recruit their personal assistants.

Personal assistants can help older and disabled people to be more independent by supporting them with a range of things including personal care help at work, getting around, daily tasks like cooking and supporting people to pursue their hobbies and interests.

Ian Nelson, 39, from Morpeth, has Downs Syndrome and uses his personal budget from Northumberland County Council for personal assistants.

His personal assistants are his uncle and a neighbour, and they support him as and when he needs it to give his parents a break.

His mum, Lilian, said: “Before personal budgets we did everything, now he chooses his own staff, and has a support when he needs it.

“He feels much more independent now and the help we receive makes managing his budget easy.”

Northumberland Care Trust is managing the development of the support worker register, which is hoped to be ready in April.

It is also providing additional funding so that it can be rolled out across the county.

Fiona Horsman, Transformation Programme Manager who is leading on this work, said: “The development of the register is at very early stages but it is hoped that once this is established it will help people to recruit staff with similar interests.

“And give them piece of mind that the support workers listed have met a range of criteria and received some level of basic training.”

The scheme received funding from Northumberland County Council with support of the North Area Committee in September 2010 to encourage local work around the personalisation of social care services and support for older and disabled residents.

For more information on the personalisation of adult social services in Northumberland, visit www.northumberlandcaretrust.nhs.uk/puttingpeoplefirst or contact the Transformation Team on 01670 394 417 or by email at ppf@northumberlandcaretrust.nhs.uk