Frequently Asked Questions

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What sort of issues is Connected Care uncovering? 

"I feel let down by the system. I suffered from domestic violence but no-one could find suitable accommodation for me. I rented a house from a private landlord but the house is being repossessed because he hasn't been paying the mortgage. I was told 'Wait until the day you are evicted and then you can go into a shelter.'  Who wants to wait a month not knowing where you will be living? I had to ask my mum to help me out with the deposit to find rented private accommodation again. If I didn't have that back up I would be homeless." From an interview with a resident

"There is a big grey area but those people who are meant to be there to help you only think in black and white….you've got to wait until you are in crisis and then it's too little too late."  Alcohol Focus Group

"I'm trying to take tiny steps, so in a bed-sit from this weekend which is a step up from the night shelter. My first priority is to find somewhere to live then find a job labouring but I've had to do this myself. I have been rejected by one housing support service, because of criminal record from 1985 and also because I have rent arrears from a Housing Association from last year." Male, 41-50 years old, unemployed, substance misuse, homeless

"Services could be improved by the staff not being judgemental and accepting that different people need different things and not using the service for all people." Male, 21-30 years old, unemployed, ex-substance misuse and homeless

Across the country similar issues repeatedly come up:

  • People have difficulty finding out what support is available because services don't actively reach out leaving people confused about what's available.
  • People with complex needs are bounced around the system with no single professional taking charge of the case. This can put people off seeking help for a long time.
  • People want more choice in the services that they receive.
  • People feel estranged from the decision-making process. Many service users have low confidence, motivation and awareness of what is available and as a result are unable to demand better services.

How is Connected Care making services better?

Connected Care addresses the root cause of poor outcomes for service users. We use the research results which provide intelligence about the gaps and problems in the local area to help comissioners design solutions to these problems.

We look at how factors like transport links, housing problems, social isolation and community issues impact on the whole picture. This is why the audit is so important to commissioners; because it gives grassroots insight into the problems locally.

Through Connected Care, commissioners are able to ensure that their services are working best for the people that need them. Connected Care starts from the needs of individuals living in the local community. It is an approach done by the community, not to it.

Through the audit, considerable time and resources are invested in communicating and engaging with the local community to ensure their views are properly heard, including the type and range of choices they want, ensuring the delivery of services that address the gaps in provision.

How do cross cutting services work?

Connected Care specifications focus on the particular needs of each area but use common principles for integrated service delivery. Cross cutting services are ones that:

  • Are easier to access for the service user
  • Ensure the workforce can work across service boundaries
  • Provide support so that many more people access services in a more cost efficient way
  • Provide better early intervention
  • Provide better forms of health promotion
  • Develop initiatives to build social capital
  • Bring about joint working for people with complex needs.

For example, our audit in Hartlepool led to services with the following elements:

  • Navigators that improve access, promote early interventions, support choice, ensure a holistic approach and integrate universal and long term support.
  • A complex care team integrating specialist health, social care and housing support
  • The development of a range of low level support services that focus on maintaining independence.

Is this for the whole community or only for people with complex needs?

It is for the whole community. There are no closed doors to services for anyone in the community. We want to ensure that the whole local community is able to access services, with more targeted interventions for people with specific needs who may have traditionally not used or been excluded from existing services. 

This will involve bringing in the support of health and social care to sit alongside housing advice, community safety and adult learning to provide tailored support. Services should recognise and respond to these varying needs.

Who does the research?

We recruit and train people from the local community to work as Community Researchers. It is vital that the Community Researchers have access to the most marginalised groups including those with mental health problems, drug and alcohol problems, long term conditions, unpaid carers, older people and those who don't access or engage with services.

The Community Researchers live in the area they research; they often have had links with, or need for, the local health and social care services. This gives them unique access to the people we want to talk to. We train them, help them and often give them a new direction and confidence in starting something new. They give us time, energy, passion and importantly access to the hardest to reach members of the community. After training they go out into the community and undertake research. Turning Point's training programme for the Community Researchers is supported by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).