Smithfield Court Rehabilitation Service, Aberdeen

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

To provide a service designed to promote recovery and a return to independent living for service users.  Rehabilitation for adults with physical, social, communication and/or sensory difficulties, and for some with reduced confidence following illness, accident or other crisis situation.  The objective is to provide an holistic range of social care, therapies and activities to enable service users to achieve and maintain their best possible function and to support their return to independent living.

The overall goal is to decrease dependence on health and social care support, increase community integration and improve the quality of life of individuals whilst also supporting their carers.  The client group is older people and adults recovering from illness, accident or acquired brain injuries.  During the development of the service a gap for rehabilitation for younger people was identified and the facilities were further developed to enable their discharge from a specialist unit to continue their rehabilitation in a home setting.

What you did?

Smithfield Court is a rehabilitation service provided in twenty-two self-contained flats in a sheltered housing complex, which have been adapted and modernised. Four of the flats have been completely redesigned and refurbished to provide wheelchair accessible accommodation.   Services provided include social care, housing support, physiotherapy and occupational therapy with speech and language therapy and housing officers available as required.

Social work, housing and the NHS worked together through an integrated team – step-up, step-down/intermdeicate care service.  The Winter Planning monies facilitated the availability of a funding stream for such integrated services.

The service gives individuals the opportunity to try more independent living in a homelike environment and in some cases supports moves from care homes into mainstream or sheltered housing.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

The impact on delayed discharge has been sustained at zero for a number of years.  Two studies have been undertaken which concluded that the service had excellent outcomes for individuals and provided long term budget savings for health and social work services.

From “idea to the opening” of the service took just over 12 weeks.   The Council were not prepared for the considerable and negative national media attention during the latter stages of development.   Support from Local Members and senior officials in dealing with media communications enabled frontline staff to get on with the job.  The negative press coverage resulted in the permanent tenants in this multi-storey sheltered housing complex becoming extremely concerned about who was coming into their home.  This was overcome by regular meetings and good communication, and the activities of the team ensured that tenants soon experienced a significant improvement to the life of the complex for everyone concerned.  Some of them also benefited from the onsite physiotherapists, occupational therapists.

In developing this type of integrated service the following are ‘musts’:

  • Good joint policies and procedures for a shared service
  • Data sharing protocols
  • joint communication documentation essential
  • Integrated IT system

Service Developments

Later this year (2013) the project flats will move to a newly renovated building.  The service will be a stand alone service with all the flats being dedicated to the service.  We feel this will benefit those referred and reduce the friction there was between those in the ‘project’ and those in tenancies.  The service will continue to provide both social and physically rehabilitation/enablement.  The service will continue to receive referrals from both the community preventing hospital admission and from Hospitals preventing delayed discharges.

Contacts - to find out more

Nicola Dinnie
Tel: 01224 522731