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Development of Services for People with a Learning Disability 12 April 2013

The Department of Social Care (DSC) is making significant progress in developing service for adults with a learning disability. These developments form part of the Departments Programme of Rebalancing of Adult Services and will include projects focused on increasing the choice and range of Respite Services, the growth and development of Supported Living Service and the modernising of Day Services.

The Minister for Social Care Hon Chris Robertshaw MHK said:

“I am pleased that my Department is continuing to develop our services to meet changing need. Demand for learning disability services has increased over recent years and the needs and aspirations of services users and their families have changed. We have addressed these changes and will continue to ensure our services are meeting those needs and avoid the long term increase in the provision of more, traditional and expensive models of support.”

Respite Services

This month the DSC will launch a new respite service focused on providing short term or holiday breaks for adults with a learning disability. The main purpose of this service will be to provide alternatives to the traditional respite model of overnight residential respite. The new service will consist of days or evenings out, and overnight or weekends away that will be based on the choice and needs of those accessing the service. More importantly the new service will also provide respite for families and carers, whilst complementing our existing respite services.

Over the next three years the DSC will embark on a significant capital programme which will include the construction of two new purpose built community homes. These new homes will provide residential accommodation to adults with complex learning and physical disabilities, and enable the DSC to focus our attention on increasing our current capacity for respite care.

Supported Living

The successful programme of developing community based services for adults with a learning disability has seen an increase in the number of service users expressing a wish to live more independently. In response to this the DSC has developed the Supported Living Service which supports adults with a learning disability within their own home. The demand for an increase in the range and choice of accommodation has been reflected in our Programme of Rebalancing Adult Services and as such, Supported Living will, over the next three years, see a growth that will enable it to meet with the expectations of both current service users and those making the transition to adulthood.

Modernising of Day Services

The demographic profile of the Island as whole is changing and this is equally applicable to people with a learning disability who are now living considerably longer than they had previously. The improvements in the standards of care, since the closure of Ballamona hospital based services for people with a learning disability several years ago, has resulted in them enjoying a rich and more varied lifestyle. It is now important that we respond to the individual needs of many ageing service users. At present the DSC is able to offer a limited Day Service at its Eastcliffe Resource Centre however, in order to modernise this area we need to consider a wider variety of opportunities including, the delivery of bespoke services from our Third Sector partners. As part of its preparation of an adult social care commissioning plan, the externalising of such services will represent a change in how traditional Day Services for adults with a learning disability have been delivered. However, the DSC is committed to communicating and engaging with staff and service users to ensure it continues to deliver high quality services within the parameters of reduced resources.

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