Prevention is a core theme within the Act and the principle already underpins many models of care and support in place across the region. Prevention essentially means meeting people’s needs in the community before they reach crisis point and, for those receiving care and support, preventing escalation of their needs by focusing on their abilities and helping them to be as independent as possible for as long as possible. This approach is proven to improve outcomes for people and help ensure their well-being. It also helps optimise available resources by reducing demand for formalised care, thus making services more sustainable.
This requires shifts in the way in which statutory agencies deliver care and support. The three local authorities and HDdUHB are actively involved in reconfiguring services and testing new approaches, in many cases through programmes supported by the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund (ICF). Examples include:
- Increasing the use of step-up and step-down facilities to prevent the need for admission to hospital and enable people to go home sooner
- Increasing the range of reablement services which provide targeted support to people following a stay in hospital or temporary escalation in care and support needs, to help them get back to full independence as quickly as possible
- Providing turnaround services at general hospitals to reduce the number of admissions and facilitate earlier discharge
Other partners such as the third sector also have a key role to play in prevention, for example by developing low level support networks within communities which can help people to remain connected and to stay independent for as long as possible. In West Wales we have a proud record of innovative practice in this area, which includes:
- Cross-sector ‘home from hospital’ schemes which bring together statutory and third sector agencies to provide wraparound support and ensure people’s home environments are appropriate for their needs following discharge
- Establishment of ‘third sector broker’ or ‘community connector’ roles which help raise awareness of care and support available within local communities and support the development of new initiatives at local level
Not surprisingly, prevention is one of the strategic priorities adopted by the RPB. To ensure that our approach to prevention is as effective as possible, we are committed to reviewing arrangements across the region, identifying proven practice across Wales and the UK and developing a regional preventions framework based on shared quality standards.
We will actively support the development of alternative delivery models, including social enterprises, cooperatives and user-led services, building on existing activity in the region and pooling expertise of local and national partners. More information on our objectives is contained within the Delivery Plan in Section 3.