More choice for service users.

There are a lot of changes through the government, to the way systems work in health care to give service users more choice and control. For care management, personal budgets are being used so that a person is given money to use in a way they feel will meet their needs, not in the traditional manner of being given a care package.
For Occupational Therapists, we are using direct payments. This means that if you are assessed as needing a piece of equipment or an adaptation, this would usually be provided by the community equipment provider or adaptation service. Now, if you wish to have something different, as long as it meets the identified need, the authority can give you in money the value of what they would have provided, and you can purchase which item or service you wish to meet that need. The OT would still need to ensure it would meet your need. Any cost over the value of what is given would need to be funded by the service user.

Example 1
A service user requires a hospital bed at home. She still wishes to sleep in the same bed as her husband. I went with them to the bed shop, to identify a profiling double bed that would still meet her needs which included being hoisted in and out of bed and having some personal cares on the bed. Once this was identified, the service user purchased the bed and social services gave her the value of the bed they would have provided.

Example 2
A service user required hand rails outside her front door, down the steps. Galvanised rails could be provided by the authority. She wished to have wrought iron rails in keeping with the rest of the property. A quote was gained for the rails social services could provide, and then this money was given to her. She then employed her own contractor and added her own money to get the wrought iron rails she required.

Example 3
A service user was able to use a bath lift to access her bath to meet her washing needs. She preferred to have an over bath shower. She was given the value of the bath lift and then employed a plumber to fit the over bath shower. She also needed to purchase a bath board to enable access into the bath.