The objective of our floating support service is to provide older people with support that encourages independence and enables older people to continue living independently in their own home. The support is delivered by a specialist support worker and focuses on the goals, aspirations and preferences of the individual.
The support offered is a time limited package of practical support to enable the older person to develop the skills and confidence, or receive the appropriate advice, to continue to live independently in their own home. It may include links to other voluntary and statutory agencies, such as handyperson, befriending, homecare and other specialist services, and will encourage social contact where isolation and loneliness are issues.
Referrals for the service are taken from statutory services, self referrals and voluntary sector agencies. The service is funded through Supporting People grant.
Hospital Discharge Support
Within the floating support team are hospital discharge support workers who work specifically with older people returning home after a stay in hospital and who need help and support during this period of transition.
The hospital discharge support workers have built close relationships with local hospital staff in north west London, and with Social Services. The service reduces 'bed blocking' and enables older people to leave hospital when ready, returning to their own home, or to somewhere more suitable of their choice.
The support offered can include arranging for aids and adaptations to their own home; advice about other housing options; help with accessing welfare benefits, homecare and handyperson services, and links to befriending initiatives and community alarm services.
On leaving hospital, Willow provides floating support to the individual for around six months. This period is used to make referrals to longer term care and support services, if this is assessed as needed, to enable the older person to maximise their independence.
The service improves the quality of life for older people and enables them to remain in their own home if that is their choice; it reduces 'delayed discharge' fines for Social Services, levied if older people are not able to leave hospital when ready; it frees up hospital beds and reduces re-admissions through early intervention and 'keeping people safe' initiatives, and it reduces the placements in residential care.