The O’Sullivans – Making a success of a personal health budget in Norfolk

Theresa O’Sullivan and her family live in Norfolk and have been using HomeCareDirect to help them manage their personal health budget since January 2013. By using a personal health budget, Theresa has been able to have a service designed specifically for her, choosing her mum and dad to be employed by HomeCareDirect to provide the complex care she needs – whilst remaining at home and out of a residential setting.

Theresa’s father, Tim O’Sullivan says “it really works for us; we’ve been involved in taking care of Theresa for a long time whilst she was under the care of the local authority, then the PCT and then the CCG. We’re finding it very good”.

Theresa is a sociable 24 year old lady who lives in Norfolk with her parents, who have been her full time carers since birth. She also lives with her brother and sister in a specifically adapted property and enjoys a happy life at home with her family. Theresa’s care needs are complex and include Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Microcephalism.

Theresa uses a tracheostomy tube to breath and has a PEG through which she feeds and has her medication administered.

Theresa’s care at home is funded through continuing healthcare funding provided by Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG via a personal health budget. Due to this, the family were able to take control over Theresa’s care at home.

Asked whether he felt a personal budget had improved Theresa’s health and well-being, Tim O’Sullivan said “Absolutely”.

Asked if there were any downsides to personal health budgets, Tim said “The red tape involved in setting it up can leave you a little non-plussed at times’. Tim went on further to say that ‘red tape could put some people off, and that’s when you need help from the professionals”.

This is where HomeCareDirect come in.

For 10 years HomeCareDirect have been helping people take control over their care at home by removing some of the hassles that have traditionally been a barrier to people who want to choose their own personal assistants and organise their own support. Namely, the responsibilities involved with being an employer, keeping up-to- date with training, insurance, payroll, funding management and recruitment/ interview support – HomeCareDirect provide all of this as part of the service. HomeCareDirect also provides a dedicated independent living advisor and a 24/7 support line to help people make a success of their personal health budget.

What this meant for the O’Sullivan family was that they had all the choice and control offered by a personal health budget, but were left free to concentrate fully on organising and providing Theresa’s care.

“We’re able to concentrate strongly on Theresa’s care without having to do all the admin – it stops you doing two jobs” said Tim. “It works much better now”.

Training has been provided or sourced by HomeCareDirect qualified nurses who work in partnership with the local district nursing team. The training has been to full CQC standard, taking place both in the home and in a hospital setting using the latest up-to-date techniques. The family also has the reassurance that HomeCareDirect will ensure they are kept up-to-date with all the latest best- practice guidance on an on-going basis – securing the best possible care for Theresa.

Due to Theresa’s complex care needs, traditionally she may have been placed in a residential nursing setting, however by using her personal health budget funding and with HomeCareDirect employing her parents to be her personal assistants, she can remain at home with her family and be well cared for.

Finally, when asked whether he would encourage other people to move to a personal health budget, Tim said “Yes, I would definitely recommend them”.

A true success story with great outcomes for all involved.