Success stories for new Wokingham social care scheme

More than 100 social care users have signed up to take control of their support budget in the last six months.

It takes the number of people using Wokingham Borough Council’s Putting People First system from 422 in December 2009 to 534 in August 2010.

The scheme, which launched in Wokingham in April 2008, offers people the chance to decide how their personal care budget is spent.

One user of the system is Richard Bell, 74, from Shinfield.

Mr Bell has Parkinson’s disease and suffers from dementia.

Late last year his family thought he would have to go into a nursing home after a sudden fall left him needing hospital care.

His wife Pat and son David had found that other traditional forms of social care were not flexible enough to help him and, after a discussion with Mr Bell’s occupational therapist, they learned that a personal budget might be the solution.

Mr Bell was already assessed as eligible for support. The same occupational therapist at the council helped the family through the personal budget process including all the paperwork.

Mr Bell began using his personal budget in January this year.

Once Mr Bell received his budget, he chose to spend it mainly on daily care and support from a local care company.

Mr Bell receives four visits a day, seven days a week, to help with personal care.

He recently used a small proportion of the budget to pay for a short break for his wife, and have a ramp installed by the front door to provide easier access for his wheelchair.

David said: “We can’t fault all the help we have been given in getting dad home, and keeping him safe and sound since he has come back.”

Barry May, 61, from Woodley, started using a personal budget a few months ago and is another example of how personal budgets are helping local people remain independent, says the council.

Mr May has Huntington’s disease, which means that his condition is degenerative; his level of mobility is decreasing and he has muscle spasms in his arms and legs making eating, drinking and standing difficult.

His wife, Pat, was in need of some support to care for him.

Mr May was getting agitated due to the fact he was not able to go out on his own. It was looking as though his only option was to start going to a day centre for some of his week, which he did not want as he has quite particular interests and likes getting out and about.

Barry now uses some of his budget to employ a carer from local company 360° Care, who takes him to play golf at Blue Mountain Golf Club in Binfield a couple of times a week. As well as getting fresh air and exercise, his mental health and general mood have improved since starting his new routine according to his family.

Mr May said: “It means everything to me going and playing golf and it’s given me a new lease of life. I got so frustrated sitting around so I’m so pleased that, with support, I am now able to go out and do something I love.”