Dorset could be facing adult care 'timebomb'

Dorset could be facing adult care 'timebomb'

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 18th January 2020.

Dorset could be facing a ‘timebomb’ of older people with learning disabilities who will, eventually, need care.

Many are currently living with their elderly parents who will no longer be able to help their adult children.

“This is a timebomb waiting to happen and there are authorities who are not preparing…we need to be proactive and plan the future for a much wider cohort we will be looking after, in one form, or another,” said Cllr Rebecca Knox.

Councillors at the health scrutiny committee heard on Tuesday that the county has made good progress in finding homes in the community for adults with learning disabilities and only a handful remain in a hospital setting, but many are still living at home, often with elderly parents, rather than independently.

Photo of House Keys
It's thought many adults more adults will need suitable support and accommodation in the future.

Senior officer Tony Meadows, who is responsible for commissioning adult services, told the health scrutiny committee that the council, and its health and housing partners, would need to look ahead to the future when more adults with learning disabilities might need care and suitable support and accommodation.

“We need to be clear about the risks and how we can mitigate it…we are trying to understand the needs in 10 or 15 years’ time and prepare for it, rather than face any nasty surprises,” he said.

A further report is expected to come before the committee in the early summer.

A new Dorset Learning Disability and Autism Programme Board will come into operation later this year, replacing the Pan-Dorset Transforming Care Partnership Board. Part of its work is to review those with learning disabilities in hospital, or at risk of being admitted, including reviewing those thought to be ready for discharge. It also looks at those coming up to adulthood seeking to improve future planning for them.

Its other work includes liaison with local councils and the NHS to help predict demand on services and ensure that the right care, support and accommodation is available at the right time.

The new body will also help in developing an integrated workforce plan.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter