Healthwatch Oxfordshire publishes findings of daytime support review

Healthwatch Oxfordshire has published the findings of a major survey undertaken among users of daytime support services for adults in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Adult Social Care department asked the health and social care watchdog to undertake an independent review of the services after major changes in how they were delivered in October 2017.

On October1 2017, the county council’s Health and Wellbeing Centres and Learning Disability Daytime Support Services were replaced with a new Community Support Service as planned. Securing the services for the future.

The services are located in Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, Oxford, Wallingford, Wantage and Witney. The services provide daytime support for both older people and those with learning disabilities.

The review focused specifically on user experiences during the process of change to help evaluate the impact it had on people. The service has been working hard since the launch to ensure that people are at the centre of all service developments.

The review found that people said that daytime support made a difference to their lives and they valued it for: Social connection and friendships, meaningful activity, independence, reducing isolation and loneliness, supporting carers to continue caring

Other positive findings from the review include:

• 91% of people are still attending either a Community Support Service or voluntary centre

• People are enjoying the opportunity to meet new people and make more friends.

• Mixed groups (older people and those with learning difficulties) are working well. Most of the concerns people had at the outset have been allayed.

• Many people have expressed their gratitude to staff who have worked hard to make the centres a welcoming place for all.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire has made a number of recommendations, including a suggestion that the county council reviews its approach to major changes to services including:

  • the time it allows to implement changes
  • communications with service users and their carers
  • communication throughout all levels of the system affected
  • the impact of service changes on carers be addressed through the change process.

Delighted by the response

Kate Terroni, director of Adult Social Care, said: “We requested Healthwatch conduct an independent review of the changes to daytime support and welcome their feedback.

“We were delighted by the response of those people using the service and that their initial concerns about the changes have since been allayed.

“Following on from feedback gathered by Healthwatch we have already started to strengthen relationships with local communities and partners to help plan future care for people using the service. We will ensure that the people we support and carers are given regular updates and opportunity to give their views.

“We are also working to develop a better understanding of the range of opportunities on offer and support ways that the service can keep people connected to their community.”

Listening to people

Rosalind Pearce, Executive Director, Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “I would like to give a huge a thank you to all those who contributed to this report. In October 2017, Healthwatch Oxfordshire informed Oxfordshire County Council about the concerns we were hearing about the impending changes to adult daytime support services. Oxfordshire County Council responded by asking Healthwatch Oxfordshire to carry out an independent review of the changes and the change process. We did this by listening to people affected by the changes, their carers and staff across the county.

“This report tells their story and should be listened to by all services and commissioners planning service change.”

The report is available to read or download at https://healthwatchoxfordshire.co.uk/our-reports/healthwatch-oxfordshire-reports/