United Response A new free resource has been launched that aims to assist social care professionals to successfully move people from assessment and treatment units and long-stay institutions back into their local communities.

‘Transforming Care: New Referral Checklist’ by disability charity United Response’s Practice Development Team, draws on their experience of supporting a number of people with complex disabilities to make the move in recent years. The resource brings together learning from staff, people supported by the organisation, family members and a range of professionals into a single checklist.

Broken down into sequential steps, the checklist details what United Response says are the eight phases needed to successfully move someone back to their community. It covers such things as the development of partnership agreements between stakeholders with defined roles and responsibilities for before, during and after the move; service specification and service design; staff skills and knowledge; living environment and practice leadership.

The checklist is available to anyone involved in creating new services for people with substantial levels of challenging behaviour, from families, through to commissioners and service providers.

Sharing knowledge

Bev Ashman, United Response’s practice development co-ordinator, said: “The shocking stories of the people who lived at Winterbourne View Hospital were a stark reminder to all social care professionals about the need for high quality care provided in community settings, as had been outlined by the late Professor Jim Mansell.

“The sector committed itself to changing and better meeting the needs of people who present behaviours which are severely challenging. Yet, far too many people remain in inpatient care for long periods of time, often without a clear discharge plan in place. 

“To assist people who find themselves living in such conditions, it is imperative that those in the know share their knowledge, so that others can learn from their experience, and change can happen.

“United Response has that knowledge. We have successfully supported a number of people with high levels of challenging behaviour to move from institutional settings into a home of their own close to family and friends. Like others we have sometimes got it wrong and that is what led us to begin work on the referral checklist. In collaboration with family members, service users, staff and others in the social care field, we have sought to establish the elements and processes that are essential to making a placement a success.

“We hope that by sharing our knowledge others will follow suit. We all have a responsibility to bring about this change, and to ensure that the people that we work with live the meaningful and rich lives that they deserve.”

To download Transforming Care: New Referral Checklist, go to www.unitedresponse.org.uk/transformingcare