The fifth Central Bedfordshire Partnership Board was held in November 2018 in Leighton Buzzard on the theme of Transitions
The fifth Central Bedfordshire Partnership Board in November 2018 in Leighton Buzzard uniquely brought together professionals from both children and adult services to discuss the transition process of young people with additional needs into adult services when they turned 18 years old. This can be a particularly stressful time for all involved.
The meeting was attended by 16 carers and 16 professionals from various agencies and guest speakers from Preparing for Adulthood team, Children’s Mental Health Team and SNAP, Parent Carers Forum in Central Bedfordshire.
Helen Satterthwaite, CEO of Carers in Bedfordshire welcomed everyone and stated that the aim of the meeting was to improve understanding and act as a catalyst for improvement. Ruth Coals, Head of Professional Standards of Social Workers for Children thanked Carers in Bedfordshire for inviting her and stated that she was looking forward to listening to the speakers and audience.
Sarah Cavill introduced the Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) team. She explained that the team worked with a wide range of services to help young people with a learning disability, a physical disability and autism access adult services. This process started when they turned 14 and would continue until they were 25 if needed. She highlighted ‘A Guide to Your Journey’ booklet which is available to help a young person consider their options.
Simon Sharp, the Carers Lead in the PFA team told us that carers played a pivotal role which services could not manage without. He explained the range of options available when working with carers such as; a carer’s assessment, carer’s allowance and signposting to organisations like Carers in Bedfordshire. He re-iterated the importance of ensuring that carers felt “listened to, heard and understood.”
Lucinda Moore, Employment Support in the PFA team finished off the presentation by highlighting their Employment Support Service, aiming to provide help to get the young person into employment, whether paid or voluntary, so that they could feel a sense of purpose and be part of the local community. This was not always easy to achieve as it was difficult to find suitable placements that the young person could get to.
The final presentation was about SNAP PCF by Kirsty Green. She provided an overview of the work of SNAP and explained how they played an active role on a number of boards, for example, SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disability) Delivery Board, School Transport and Preparing for Adulthood Workstream. It was through their presence at Adult Social Care meetings which lead to the formation of Preparing for Adulthood team as SEND issues were often overlooked. They currently are helping to oversee changes to the “Local Offer” website with their members. They have received some money from the Department of Education to held some conferences for parent carers in 2019 – so keep a look out for upcoming dates.
After all the presentations were completed, there were many questions rasied by the audience.
What happens if a young person has an Education, Health & Care plan (EHCP) - or none - and does not currently receive any support from Children Services? As a young person approaches adulthood, the Care Act 2014 will be applied to assess whether they are able to receive any support. Though there is still a threshold level needed to receive support, it is different from the Children Services criteria, so you can ask the Transitions team to carry out an assessment. You can self-refer once the young person is 14 so the team can start to build a picture of their needs. It is important to note that though you might still not be able to get paid services the young person will be signposted to other services.
My young person turns 18 soon, but no-one has mentioned transferring to adult mental health services. What will happen if they have a crisis? CAMHs usually discusses transferring 6 months before they turn 18, but this isn’t always standard. So there will still be time for conversations to be had. However, if they do have a crisis once they turned 18 you can ring the Mental Health Crisis Team on 0300 300 8123. Or you can go to A&E and mental health team will carry out an assessment there.
Is the Transitions team working to identify young people with chronic conditions? Yes they are, though in the past it has been more focused on young people with learning disabilities. The team is working with the Chronic Conditions Lead for BCCG, GPs and other medical professional and are working hard to raise awareness of the services the team provides.
Young person is currently being issued medication through CAMHS and it has been very effective. What will happen when they turn 18? Will it be stopped? This is a key conversation that will be had at the transition stage. As the young person is stable on this medication, it is more than likely that the GP will take over the care and will dispense the medication.
What is the criteria for respite? This is assessed using the Care Act 2014. It looks at how significant the impact is focusing on the impairment and 2 areas of the Care Act, such as, personal care, independence etc. Each assessment looks at the situation as a family. As this is a legislative requirement if you are struggling to get respite but feel it is needed then you need to put forward a legal argument to support your claim.
The final event were the roundtable discussions between carers and professionals. Both were asked what they had learnt from the presentations and Q&A.
For Carers the following points stood out
- You can self-refer to the transitions team
- Social care criteria is different for children and adult services
- The “Local Offer” provides lots of information relevant to parent carers
For Professionals they felt
- Everyone has the same ethos, and wants to enable carers and young people to independent
- There needs to be further work to help provide a seamless pathway between agencies
- Awareness gained of the services that are available for young people and carers during Transitions
- Patient Participation Lead has now been appointed in Central Bedfordshire
To finish the meeting the groups identified action points that could be taken as a result of this meeting:
- Spread awareness of resources and support through Carers Magazine, Social Media, and Awareness days
- Ensure all GPs and medical services are aware of the transitions team and the support available
- Record the carer’s journey and collect stories about their family’s experiences especially of those who don’t meet the threshold criteria – “We don’t know what we don’t know”
- Develop flowchart of pathway for both parents & professionals use
- Explore whether EHCP and All About Me documentation can be merged and used more effectively
As the meeting was closed, there was a positive buzz in the room. The meeting had met its intended aims to understand and to listen to each other.
- I have learnt a considerable amount. I feel empowered.
- An informative meeting.
- Awareness is critical
- A very positive event.
- Great to meet professional staff and for them to be accessible
- Really helpful to hear directly from parent carers.