Partnership working to improve equipment and adaptation services

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

Reviewing all the elements of the community equipment service (as provided by all relevant Orkney Partners), with the aim of producing viable recommendations for service improvement which will support effective service pathways.  The review covered all aspects of the service e.g. governance, finance arrangements, operational store service logistics, roles and responsibilities of Partners in the assessment and provision of equipment, minor adaptations and supporting training needs.

What you did?

With JIT support the Partners self-evaluated the equipment service utilising the tools developed within the ‘Good Practice Guide for the Provision of Community Equipment Services’.  Key actions were identified in an Action Plan and 3 groups (Finance, Performance, and Service Review) were established with representatives from a range of front line professionals and service managers across social care and health to drive forward improvements.  Additional links were made with Education and Housing and 3rd sector services as required.  The minor adaptation service was launched at the beginning of January 2012 and the new equipment service on the 29th March 2012.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

The outcomes have been:

  • establishing a clearer identity and purpose for the service and improving governance arrangements;
  • developing performance measures including a framework for service user involvement;
  • the development of a new Service Level Agreement for the Store service;
  • a new Joint Protocol that clarifies extended roles and responsibilities of staff across the Partners (and professions);
  • working with the local Care and Repair service to allow direct access to minor adaptations;
  • working with a local charity to provide a range of small items for selling direct to the public;
  • a review of financial arrangements to clarify future funding processes and provide joint reporting;
  • agreement on a new IT system to support the ordering, tracking and delivery of equipment;
  • establishing joint training.

The main gains have been generally improved access to minor adaptations and ownership of the equipment service.  There is much more clarity on roles and responsibilities, however, there have been challenges related to getting the right people on board at the right time and this has meant that certain aspects of the process has been less straightforward.

2013 Updates

  • Minor adaptations direct
    The Handymen have now all received OT awareness training and 100 referrals have gone directly via the scheme from January 2012 to date.   Only 5 of these have required follow-up from the OT Team.   Feedback received by service providers has been positive. Waiting times have been reduced from (potentially) up to 3 months to be assessed to actual receipt of service within 1 week in 35% of cases, 1 month in 26% of cases, over 1 month in only 4% of cases (no data available on other 35%).
  • Small equipment service
    The local Disability Forum Charity launched their small equipment service in Summer 2012.  They are now routinely accessed by people looking for smaller items of domestic, personal care and leisure equipment.   Core OT stock has been reduced accordingly allowing funds to be allocated to essential non-mainstream items.
  • Core equipment training
    A training programme for core assessors has been developed in conjunction with NAEP Scotland.   All core equipment assessors (OTs, Physios, Community Nurses) have now attended the programme and are able to prescribe all core items direct from stock avoiding duplication and multiple assessments.
  • Asset management system
    In-house system now under development to provide one point of recording for tracking stock and maintenance records.
  • Core equipment funding
    NHS partners have now agreed some level of budgetary funding to be dedicated to the community equipment service.  Further negotiations are underway to allocate this resource to be managed directly by the joint store.

Contacts - to find out more

Caroline Sinclair, Head of Health and Community Care