It is better to be in the place you feel safe when you are in crisis

December 2nd, 2016 by Rachael Byrne in Care and Support blog

This week, ITV News reported that more than half of mental health trusts in England have cut the number of beds for patients in crisis, and that despite a Government pledge to invest an extra £1 billion into mental health services in England, 60% of Trusts have cut the number of beds available for mental health patients.

It’s true that beds are being cut back in mental health trusts, and if the community resources were there, then that would definitely be the right approach to take. We know that in circumstances where in-patient treatment isn’t required, respite or home treatment and care is preferable. It makes sense that it is better to be in the place you feel safe when you are in crisis. Of course it’s not for everyone but it can certainly reduce the pressure on acute services.

At Home Group we offer these types of services including respite and step down services for mental health. And, in some areas we have colleagues based on the ward with NHS staff ensuring quick discharge to home or to respite accommodation and prevent readmission.

We have seen great results, both from a financial point of view and for client outcomes.  Our client satisfaction rating to date is 96%, that’s the value they place on their support and their home, so we know we offer a very credible alternative to hospital.  Partiuclarly in mental health the environment is equally if not more important than the support and as with many housing and care providers we pride ourselves on our bespoke developments. In  just 2 months in one of our respite schemes in the west midlands that accommodates and supports 4 customers at any one time, we prevented 13 admissions to hospital. This is just one example of what we are set up to do. 

So, whilst bed shortages are a crisis right now, we should focus on alternatives that are actually better for the client.

So let’s work together and remember that alternative community providers shouldn’t be seen as an expensive and unconnected.  As a housing and care provider we are adept at putting the alternative services into place and for the NHS, working with organisations like ourselves can often be the most effective solution. We just need continued engagement with the Mental Health trusts to make it happen.