Cardiff Council in partnership with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB), is proposing to build a new £14.5m Independent Living Wellbeing Centre to help more people to be cared for in their own homes and ease the pressure on hospitals and care facilities.
A new report, to be discussed by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet on Thursday (Dec 14), outlines the need to support independent living, as set out in the Council’s Ageing Well Strategy. Included in this support are plans to build a new centre in Grangetown(see illustration below)featuring:
- A warehouse for equipment needed to enable people to live in their own homes after receiving care;
- A Wellbeing Hub offering services including therapy, classes and community facilities; and
- A new ‘smart house’ demonstration centre showcasing aids, adaptations and solutions for independent living.
The partnership project would provide much needed equipment and reablement support across the region, facilitating early discharge from hospital and reducing the need for care services.
A new facility would centralise deliveries and bring the cleaning and recycling aspect of the work in-house, while at the same time providing much needed jobs for people with additional needs and/or a learning disability.
Councillor Norma Mackie, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services (Adults), said the new centre, if approved, would be a huge boost for health services in Cardiff and the Vale. “We all know that there is a projected rise in the number of older people and those living with life-limiting illnesses and dementia,” she said.
“At the moment, the services to care for these people and enable them to live independently at home have outgrown their current facilities and we need a new centre that’s accessible for residents of Cardiff and the Vale.
“The proposed site at the Gasworks development in Grangetown would fulfil all our requirements with a state-of-the-art facility providing everything the service needs in one location.”
The Council’s Ageing Well Strategy includes predictions that in the decade to 2030:
- Those aged 65+ will rise by 17.8%
- Those aged 85+ will rise by 9.2%
- The number of people struggling with daily living will increase by 17%, and
- The number of people living with dementia will rise by 30.1%, and 41.1% for severe dementia.
In the Vale of Glamorgan, there are 56,200 aged 50-plus – 46.2 of the population. The number of people aged 65-plus is projected to increase by 22% by 2039 – the largest increase of any local authority in Wales – and the new facility will help the Council deliver on its own Age Friendly Charter commitment to ensure “people are supported to stay healthy and independent through access to appropriate services.
Cllr Eddie Williams, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at the Vale Council, said: “The population projections for Cardiff and the Vale speak for themselves. Adult social care is already a huge part of local authorities’ work. If we are able to support more people with a wider range of needs then centres like this will be key.
“Other well-being hubs in the region are already proving a real success in supporting older people and helping residents live more independent lives. This new facility will allow us to provide even better support across Cardiff and the Vale.”
The new report states that the efficiency of the Joint Equipment Service (JES) – which provides equipment including beds, patient lifting hoists and commodes – is declining because its elements are spread across the city and there is a lack of storage space. It makes 76,000 deliveries every year and also outsources the cleaning and recycling of its products to a company in England.
“The new centre, through its efficiencies and the ability to bring work like cleaning and recycling in-house, gives us the opportunity to reduce costs in some areas,” said Cllr Mackie, “as well as reducing the need for domiciliary care by improving the speed at which we deliver equipment. We estimate this could reduce demand on care services and save around £434k a year.”
Abigail Harris, Executive Director of Strategic Planning at Cardiff and Vale UHB, said: “We are really pleased to see this development progressing. We work closely with both Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council to ensure that people being cared for at home have the equipment needed to support their care needs. This development will enable us to continue to develop and improve our services – they form a key part of our wider range of developing community services aimed at supporting people to keep living well at home. We are grateful to Cardiff Council for leading the work on this facility.”
The multi-disciplinary Wellbeing Centre offers an opportunity to integrate health and social care service. The report states that: “It will be the foundation for the provision of seamless, person-centred services focused on prevention and independent living and putting what matters to the citizen at the heart of services.”
The Smart House, the report continues “will be a purpose-built home demonstrating a full suite of technology, medical aids and adaptations available to support independence across Cardiff and the Vale… and support individual assessment and a base for specialist training.”
At the meeting, officers are recommending that the Cabinet agrees to the proposed Centre proceeding to the detailed design stage.