New Blog Post – Close to Home
One of my new year’s resolutions for work this year is to spend more time promoting and talking about the important work we do. I passionately believe that the services we provide are vital to helping to keep people safe and independent in their own homes. At a time when NHS and social care budgets are under more pressure than ever before, the preventative nature of what we do is also more important than ever.
I have always enjoyed storytelling and believe that a client case study or customer quote can paint the picture of what we do far more effectively than any PowerPoint presentation I can deliver, so I often turn to our client feedback forms and case study notes for inspiration. Today however, my inspiration is a little closer to home: my Dad.
My Dad is 84 years old, lives on his own and is fiercely independent. He is very active and still drives (in fact much of his time is spent on school runs or ferrying around one or more of his 12 grandchildren). While being deaf has significantly impacted on his social activities, he has family close by and friendly neighbours who look out for him too. And despite multiple long term conditions including arthritis and chronic pain from nerve damage, both of which affect his mobility and make simple everyday tasks like getting dressed and washed somewhat of a struggle; on the whole he manages well at home with support from his family. I sometimes take for granted just how blessed we all are that he is relatively healthy and active in his older age.
At a recent conference I heard a presentation about frailty and how, often, older people can be leading full and active lives and then as a result of a fall or other incident, can experience a rapid decline; and never quite recover to the point they had been at before. It suddenly struck me that they were talking about people exactly like my Dad.
One of our services is the Healthy Home Assessment, a comprehensive, person centred approach to looking at risks and potential improvements in relation to a person’s home. It has four key themes of safe, secure, warm and independent. I wax lyrical to anyone who will listen about how beneficial these assessments are and encourage people to have an assessment at the earliest opportunity because they are so useful in terms of prevention, early intervention and keeping people safe and independent for longer.
I decided it was time to listen to my own advice and organised an assessment for my Dad. All of our team who carry out the assessments are experienced and qualified Trusted Assessors. My Dad lives in a bungalow, so in many ways his home is a key enabler to his independence. However, as the assessment highlighted, there are areas for improvement; most notably the bathroom and his over-the-bath shower. Unfortunately a wetroom isn’t an option for Dad at the moment, but after taking the time to understand my Dad’s various long term conditions and his daily routine, the assessor was able to recommend a number of helpful pieces of equipment which will help him to safely get in and out of the shower. He also highlighted a concern about the inward opening bathroom door which, in the event of a fall, would prevent someone getting into the room to help Dad. Thanks to Lancashire County Council’s Integrated Home Improvement Service (IHIS) funding, Dad is eligible for our IHIS Handyperson Service that will rehang the door for him to open it up the other way. We have also decided that a keysafe will be a useful addition and the Handyperson service will fit this too – Dad will just pay the costs of the keysafe and other materials.
In a quiet moment after the assessment, Dad turned to me and said: “It’s really wonderful what you do. I am very grateful. You have spotted things I hadn’t even thought about.” I had to agree with him: it is pretty wonderful what we do. Sometimes even relatively small and simple jobs can make an enormous difference. The cost of what we do is often small too, but the outcomes that we achieve are priceless: independence, safety, wellbeing and peace of mind.
I am sure my Dad thinks this was all a special favour because his daughter works at Preston Care & Repair, but I can assure you it is not. Our services are here to help older, disabled and vulnerable people across Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire to live safely and independently in their own homes. It just so happens that my Dad is one of them.
As a daughter, I am incredibly grateful that our service is here to help people like my Dad: someone who just needs that little bit of help to maintain his independence and live safely in his own home; and I hope that even in these challenging financial times, commissioners and funders can continue to see the value of this type of support. As Preston Care & Repair’s Chief Executive, I am incredibly proud of our team and what they do. They are a brilliant group of dedicated, caring and resourceful people. The whole team are completely committed and focussed on delivering excellent services to the people who need them most and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure we are here to provide that help for generations to come.
One of our core values as an organisation is that we treat all of our clients the way we would want our own family or loved ones to be treated. Every now and again, our clients are our loved ones.
If you think we could help you or a loved one stay safe and independent at home, please get in touch. We are here to help.
Chief Executive, Preston Care & Repair