Assessment stays expanding to help beat 'bed blocking'
COUNCIL leaders say they want to expand a specialist social service which is helping older people back on their feet and back to their own homes.
Swansea Council says allocated "assessment beds" at Bonymaen House in Bonymaen are paying dividends in tackling bed-blocking.
It means 73-year-old Victor Pope is still enjoying the freedom of his own flat in Sketty.
He said he spent time getting his skills and confidence together at Bonymaen following two operations last year.
"I wasn't fully fit and the stay in Bonymaen worked out very well," he said.
"I was quite weak — I fell over on the first day. But it was far better than spending time staying in hospital because I was too weak to go straight home."
He added that staying independent was a state of mind.
"I keep it in my head that even if my body is maybe heading downhill my mind is active."
Staff and professionals like doctors and nurses helped Mr Pope regain his strength and confidence before returning to his flat.
The scheme is also for people in the community who may otherwise find difficulty in a crisis, and would otherwise find themselves admitted to a long-term care home.
Swansea Council's cabinet member for wellbeing Mark Child said: "The beds offer people a genuine alternative to entering a residential home on a long term basis.
"From the time someone goes to one of our assessment beds the focus is on enabling and encouraging their return home and in the majority of cases we are able to achieve this.
"The success of these few beds really makes me want to expand this facility so more people can benefit from it, and we can transform the service we provide."
Julie Burroughs, transformation manager for Swansea's social services, said: "Victor is like so many people we meet who want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
"It's why we're developing a whole range of community-based services which are helping them do just that.
"We call the short-term care and support in a residential home service our assessment beds service because it gives the person we're supporting a bit of 'me' time to recuperate after an accident or illness.
"But it also means we can make sure people like Victor are properly assessed so they can return home confident they will be able to access care that's appropriate to their needs."