Leading Hampshire-based disability charity Enham Trustis encouraging people in the county who are elderly, vulnerable or living with a disability to get in touch to see what support they could be entitled to through its Personal Health Budget (PHB) support service.
The service, funded by the NHS, launched in the area this year to give people living with disabilities and identified long-term health and wellbeing needs greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
Enham Trust is working with people in the county who are in receipt of a PHB. PHB’s are available to people who are in receipt of continuing health care funding, or who have health needs due to a long term condition.
Personal health budgets are being trialed to work in a similar way to the personal budgets that many people are already using to manage and pay for their social care.
From understanding what support is available to them and researching options through to employing a personal assistant and managing the responsibilities that go with being an employer, Enham Trust offers guidance when drawing up support plans to ensure they meet the agreed health outcomes before they are submitted to the NHS for approval.
For Maggie – a 26 year-old from Plymouth who has autism and severe learning disabilities – and her family, Enham Trust’s Personal Health Budget support service has made an invaluable difference to her quality of life and the people closest to her.
Her mother Mary explains: “When Maggie was in crisis she needed 3:1 support. Since the Public Health Budget started in June, Maggie has been receiving 2:1 support, and she has not been in crisis since; in fact support has been reduced to 1:1 for two hours every day.
“This is thanks to the fact that Maggie can now access head massage, and regular swimming in a suitable pool, as well as chiropody, which has meant she’s now so stress free as a result. Previously Maggie self-injured herself regularly, which was awful to see and manage. This has now reduced significantly and she is sleeping at night; whereas previously she would not sleep for three weeks at a time.
“The Personal Health Budget and support package we have designed around Maggie is working so well. Before I was having daily input into Maggie’s care, sorting problems out, checking the carers were in and out on time. I don’t have to worry about that now.
“We have a secure team of staff – 10 people in total – who have all been recruited by word of mouth and free sites – no advertising was required. Everything is simple to manage; we use a payroll service, which is very easy and straightforward. Everyone works to a pre-set rota.
“It’s a pity we couldn’t do this 10 years ago as Maggie’s life would have been so much nicer. There have been times that we thought she might have to go into secure residential unit because everything was so awful and stressful.
“There has also been a massive reduction in the cost of Maggie’s care and support and we are looking to reduce this further in the future.”
CEO of Enham Trust Peta Wilkinson said: “Independence is a vital component of all of our lives, but especially so for disabled people. Our Personal Health Budget support service offers people practical support to achieve their goals, live in their own home, and lead fulfilling and productive lives and it’s great to see its working effectively for Maggie.
“Personal Health Budgets recognise the importance of personalisation in an individual’s care needs. Putting control back into their hands and empowering people to manage their own care and support.”
Enham Trust has a presence in Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Bristol, and Wiltshire where it has worked for the last seven years to deliver Information, Advice and Guidance for independent living, as well as employer support services.
Enham Trust continues to expand the support it provides to try to help as many disabled, elderly, and vulnerable people as possible across the country to live lives of choice, control and independence.
For further information about Enham Trust’s Public Health Budget support service, call 01264 345862 or www.enhamtrust.org.uk/Our-Services/Information-Advice-and-Guidance