Mental health support service celebrating first six months

July 20th, 2016 in Home Group News

A service designed to help people with mental illness get back on their feet is celebrating six months of success.

Client Colin Williams entertains Blackpool Mayor Coun Kath Rowson and Mayoress Ms Joan Goldin

The Stonham Step Down service was opened at the beginning of the year in Blackpool to help people transition between leaving hospital and living independently.

The service is run by Home Group, the UK’s largest care and support provider, on behalf of Lancashire Care NHS Trust Foundation.

Since it opened it has helped 19 people gain the skills they need to live independently or move onto supported accommodation.

The service focuses on combatting the issue of delayed discharge, often referred to as bed blocking, by helping people who no longer have a clinical need to remain in hospital but aren’t fully able to live independently.

Blackpool Mayor Councillor Kath Rowson visited the service to see how it operates and hear from clients how it has helped to improve their lives.

Jolan Gergely, Home Group head of client services, said: "We were delighted to welcome Coun Rowson into the service and show the success we’ve had in our first six months. In that time we’ve seen 19 people come through our doors who would otherwise most likely have remain in hospital.

“Clients can stay with us for as long as 13 weeks but typically they tend to move onto independent living in 62 days. This service is good for the clients and it is good for the wider NHS as it frees up resources elsewhere.”

Colin Williams is one of those currently living at the service. He said: "I'm enjoying being here. The staff and the other residents are very friendly. I much prefer being here to being in hospital.

“I have my own room and bathroom and I get on well with the other residents. The support I’m receiving is really useful and I hope it will help me get back on my feet much quicker than if I had stayed in hospital.”

Department of Health figures state that excess bed days cost £275 per person. The service, based in Hornby Road and staffed 24/7, is made up of 12 self-contained flats along with communal areas.

The service is available to those who are registered with a Blackpool based GP and have accommodation or support needs.