Quality and Choice Messages for Leuchie Week

Photo © Simon Grosset

Photo © Simon Grosset

The first ever Leuchie Week (1-7 September) will feature a reception at the Scottish Parliament, giving Leuchie House a platform to highlight to policymakers the message that people deserve quality and choice when it comes to respite care.

East Lothian MSP Iain Gray is sponsoring the reception hosted by Leuchie House, the only venue in Scotland offering quality respite care breaks for people with long-term conditions and their families. Speakers will include the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being, Alex Neil MSP, and Sir David Tweedie, the chairman of Leuchie House’s Board of Trustees.

As the Scottish parliament’s Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill on the integration of health and social care enters the debate stage, Leuchie House is at the forefront of plans to streamline the process of care requirements, ensuring hospital beds are freed up by offering quality respite care before the situation becomes critical, either for an individual living with the condition or their carer.

The bill aims to ensure that the health and social care systems in Scotland work together to ensure people are not delayed in hospital unnecessarily and increasing the amount of care provided at home to maintain independence and improve quality of life.

With quality respite care, carers get a regular break, enabling them to keep well to keep caring. The people with long-term conditions find they cope better with day-to-day life at home after a relaxing and stimulating break, ensuring their future wellbeing. Leuchie also provides the opportunity to provide preventative intervention before the situation becomes critical, allowing people to avoid a hospital admission.

The main issues highlighted during Leuchie Week will be:

  • Cost – It is estimated that the 1 in 8 people finding themselves filling the role of carer for a family member save the health and social care system in Scotland £10.3 billion each year;
  • Choice – For many people in Scotland living with a long-term physical condition, the only alternative to Leuchie House for respite care would be a hospital bed or a place in an old people’s residential home – both entirely inappropriate for younger people or those who live in an environment with limited social interaction or stimulation. From next year, people and their carers will also have more choice in choosing and funding their respite care under Self-directed Support;
  • Integration of health and social care – People living with long-term conditions and their carers need a joined-up approach to their care requirements as well as freedom to control their budgets.

At the moment, most people’s social care is managed by their local authority but under the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, from next year people will have greater choice to select the type of support and care that meets their needs.

Self-directed Support will mean that local authorities must offer everyone the following options: they can choose to receive direct payments to purchase the support themselves; they can select their support but let the local authority arrange it on their behalf or let the council select the appropriate support and arrange it for them. They can also choose a mixture of these options.

Mairi O’Keefe, Chief Executive of the independent charity, said: “The importance of life-enhancing breaks for people with long-term conditions and their families can’t be overemphasised. It gives them and their carers a well-earned chance to recharge their batteries and enables them to carry on without having to take up hard-pressed NHS resources.

“The ability to choose how and where they use their social care support gives a level of freedom to people who may feel their choices have gradually decreased due to their condition.”

Iain Gray MSP said: “I welcome this first ever Leuchie Week and the opportunity it presents for Leuchie House to promote the services it offers and influence the debate on respite case provision.

“Leuchie is a unique and much-loved facility and I am very proud that it is located in East Lothian. I am also pleased to be the sponsor for Leuchie’s parliamentary reception and look forward to welcoming colleagues and visitors to the event.”

  • Leuchie House is an independent charity providing high quality respite breaks for individuals and their families affected by long-term degenerative conditions with complex care needs. Find out more at www.leuchiehouse.org.uk

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