Adult placement schemes: user and practitioner responses

Community Care shares the views of vulnerable adults who live in adult placements and hears from a manager whose scheme is helping spread good practice

Service users’ views on living in an adult placement scheme home in Worcestershire

David Veale

What is it like to live in an adult placement scheme home?
I like it, although it can’t replace being with your own family. I feel that the carer looks after you very well.

What do you like most?
I feel very much at home. The food is good and I like my home comforts. My room is very nice. I like it when you can get on with another service user when you share an adult placement scheme. You can accept each other’s needs, be tolerant and make allowances for each other.

What could make it better?
I would like to share my present accommodation with a service user who has got a good sense of humour and who you can have lots of laughter with.

Louise Fletcher

What is it like to live in an adult placement scheme home?
I like living with my carer because I’m not living with lots of other people. My old residential home was too crowded. I wasn’t looked after very well. At my new home I go to the doctors when I’m ill and I’ve been to the doctors on my own. I am now more independent. I go the shops on my own.

What do you like most?
I like living here because Maureen’s my carer and because it is my home. I like being more independent. I enjoy helping with the household chores and have asked my carer if I can now take my own medication.

What could make it better?
More contact with my friends and more independence would make it better. I would like to be on the adult placement panel. I would like more help and information about relationships, my sexuality, contraception and feeling safe. And to have a course in self confidence and assertiveness.

Jenny Rose

What is it like to live in an adult placement scheme home?
I feel safe, secure and free from harm. I am supported to gain skills and confidence which will lead to greater independence.

What do you like most?
It is good to live in an ordinary family home that is committed to my welfare, and where I feel less vulnerable than in a more independent service.

What could make it better?
If a new person came to live with the family, it would be better if the other person in the adult placement scheme made the decision about it as well.

Wendy Parsons

What is it like to live in an adult placement scheme home?
It is very nice because you are classed as one of the family, and the people are nice.

What do you like most?
The carers you live with take you out in the car and let you go shopping with them or on your own. They are very kind and will listen to you if you have had any problems.

What could make it better?
Nothing could make it better. I think they are nice placements that you are in.

Practitioner’s View

Lynn Porter, registered manager, Birmingham Adult Placement Scheme and chair of the Midlands Regional Meetings (Naaps)

One of the most important things about adult placement schemes is that individuals have the right to live an ordinary and independent life, like any citizen.

Most people who do not use services choose to live with family or friends who love and care for them. Adult placement gives service users that same choice. If a person chooses to live in an adult placement, they choose a family and friendship network that reflects their chosen community and completely includes them in it.

Adult placement is a fantastic option for many adults and forward-thinking commissioners are looking in this direction as the enormous changes of re-provision and modernisation roll out across local authorities.

Placements can offer a range of services, including long-term accommodation which may or may not include personal care short breaks in the adult placement carer’s home, in the home of the person or elsewhere day provision including community activities based in the home of the adult placement carer and community support to people living independently in their own homes.

As with all adult placement schemes, we are subject to inspection by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and in the Midlands we face the regulatory challenges with relish. One example of how we have applied the regulations is our independent panel process. The panel’s role is to approve new adult placement carers in much the same way as fostering panels approve new foster carers. To achieve this, we have worked in partnership with adult placement schemes in other nearby authorities.

The six adult placement schemes from Sandwell, Staffordshire, Walsall, Dudley, Birmingham and Worcestershire have a rolling programme of panel meetings. We each present our new adult placement carers at panels other than our own. This ensures there is independence and transparency in the decision-making process. Also, if an adult placement carer wants to challenge a decision, they can go to the next panel, again independent of any previous decision.

As well as staff across the authorities, the six adult placement scheme managers have gained a lot from working together. The sharing of information and the support – both professionally and personally – has been invaluable.

Real examples of joint authority working include users being offered holidays in different placement homes or finding emergency respite for a woman who uses a wheelchair within minutes of an e-mail. With the scheme’s knowledge, carers often provide each other with respite breaks and help out in emergencies.

Related article
All about the National Association of Adult Placement Services

This article appeared in the 14 June issue under the headline “‘I feel safe and supported to gain new skills'”

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