Pi­o­neer care scheme fal­ters af­ter too few peo­ple seek its sup­port

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

LIS­MORE and Ap­pin’s ‘suc­cess­ful’ new care scheme is un­der threat af­ter too few peo­ple signed up to it, re­sult­ing in the co­or­di­na­tor’s post not be­ing re­newed.

The Ap­pin and Lis­more Com­mu­nity Care Scheme, a so­cial en­ter­prise model of home care em­ploy­ing lo­cal car­ers to care for lo­cal peo­ple, was due to be rolled out across Ar­gyll af­ter its 12-month trial ends in Oc­to­ber.

A Lis­more carer told us the in­no­va­tive project was the ‘ideal so­lu­tion’ to prob­lems faced in re­mote Ar­gyll, as grow­ing num­bers re­tire to ‘par­adise’ only to find old age turns into a ‘night­mare’.

But one carer on Lis­more, re­tired teacher and ‘po­ten­tial client’ Mary MacDougall, fears the is­land is now los­ing its ‘highly suc­cess­ful’ home care ser­vice, say­ing: ‘My 90-yearold mum re­ceives care from this group, and she and I are anx­ious about this.’

She told The Oban Times the care was ‘in­ad­e­quate’ be­fore be­cause ex­ter­nal car­ers didn’t turn up due to can­celled or missed fer­ries, or left when they could not find clients in their al­lot­ted time.

In 2016 Ap­pin Com­mu­nity Trust suc­cess­fully bid for £17,000 from the In­te­grated Care Fund to em­ploy a care co­or­di­na­tor, Eliz­a­beth Bruce, for a year through High­land Home Care. A team of Lis­more and Ap­pin Car­ers were re­cruited and trained, even win­ning a Scot­tish Care Award this year.

Ms MacDougall con­tin­ued: ‘Care in the com­mu­nity, by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, seemed the ideal so­lu­tion. We can give them the care. We have had the train­ing. A per­son could be looked af­ter in their own home with­out any dis­tress.

‘If an el­derly per­son falls in Lis­more, there is no doc­tor, no nurse. The per­son is lifted by he­li­copter to Oban. They can­not leave hospi­tal un­til there is a care pack­age in place. How much does that cost?’

The scheme, she said, had stopped ill and el­derly is­lan­ders ‘bed block­ing’ Oban and Glas­gow hos­pi­tals, or for­ever leav­ing for shel­tered hous­ing and care homes far from fam­ily and friends on the main­land, ‘which must be more ex­pen­sive for Ar­gyll and Bute’.

‘But it seems, like all good ideas in Ar­gyll and Bute, it’s go­ing to be scrapped and all the costly train­ing will nei­ther ben­e­fit our com­mu­ni­ties nor Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil,’ said Ms MacDougall.

‘Liz has been given no­tice that her job ends on Oc­to­ber 15. She made sure we were com­pe­tent and con­fi­dent to look af­ter peo­ple. I would give Liz a full­time job and send her to other is­lands. They all have the same prob­lem: a stretch of wa­ter be­tween them and help.’

Is­lan­der John Liv­ing­stone, who died of can­cer in Au­gust, spent his re­main­ing time at home with fam­ily on Lis­more thanks to Liz Bruce and the car­ers’ sup­port, his son An­drew said.

‘It meant ev­ery­thing for him. He would have gone down­hill a lot quicker if he had gone into hospi­tal. We would not have been able to spend that much time with him. It worked very well. They were able to tell us how to make a hard sit­u­a­tion very much eas­ier,’ he said.

Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship stated: ‘Fund­ing for the care co­or­di­na­tor would be gen­er­ated from a per­cent­age of the fund­ing they re­ceived for each client they sup­ported. How­ever, lo­cal res­i­dents in Ap­pin and Lis­more who re­ceive care, like ev­ery­one else, have the le­gal right to choose their own care provider and the scheme has un­for­tu­nately been un­able to at­tract suf­fi­cient res­i­dents to re­tain the co­or­di­na­tor’s post.

‘They had is­sues in re­cruit­ing and re­tain­ing staff which means they have also not been able to ex­pand their care pro­vi­sion.

‘This model of care has been highly rec­om­mended and it is im­por­tant we work to­gether to build on the frame­work. We will con­tinue to hope­fully find a so­lu­tion, and our pri­or­ity is to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of care for the clients liv­ing in Ap­pin and Lis­more.’

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