Spotlight: Step Up / Step Down

One year since the launch of our Step Up / Step Down pilot, we look back at what’s been achieved and what’s still to come.

Delayed transfers of care in NHS hospitals (sometimes referred to as “bed blocking”) have more than doubled in the last seven years. This means that there are thousands of beds which are occupied by patients who have been treated but are unable to go home. In many cases, this is because it is not safe for them to do so or because their accommodation is unsuitable.

To help address this issue in Rochdale, RBH joined forces with the Pennine Acute NHS Trust last year to launch a pilot project called Step Up / Step Down.

Our Step Down service is for older people who have to stay in hospital because their home is unsafe or unsuitable. This may be because it’s in a poor condition which could be detrimental to their health, or an aid or adaptation may need to be installed.

RBH offers an independent living home which has been furnished and is ready for immediate use. The person can be discharged from hospital and live comfortably for up to six weeks until their own home has been made ready for them to return or a new home is found.

Our Step Up service is provided if a person is living in an unsuitable home which is putting their health at risk so moving into a hospital is the only alternative.

Through Step Up, RBH can accommodate people in an independent living home while their home is made suitable or another is identified.

These temporary homes form part of RBH’s Independent Living schemes located across the borough. They are ideal for people aged 60 or over who can manage in their own home but who may need a little help to stay independent. Most of our schemes have between 25 – 35 individual flats and bungalows, providing a real community feel but also guaranteeing privacy.

Delivering Results

Just over a year since the pilot launched, Step Down is now an established RBH service, successfully providing temporary accommodation for older people.

Success stories include an elderly person who was able to return home after repairs and adaptations were put in place, enabling them to continue to live independently.

One person was moved into specialist extra care after a long time spent in hospital. They were supported to live independently in Step Down accommodation while the application for extra care was progressed.

Another person was moved into a Step Down home while more suitable accommodation was identified and made ready. He is now living back in his new home in his local community and provided with care.

We launched the pilot with three homes, funded by RBH. Following its success, we’ve secured further funding via the Rochdale Housing Initiative so can now offer six homes as part of the Step Up / Step Down service.

Next steps

The Pennine Acute NHS Trust will focus on developing the Step Up service using its NHS community health teams to help identify people who may be at risk of needing to go to hospital because their home is unsuitable.

We hope to receive further funding in 2018 from the CCG social investment fund which will enable us to further grow the service next year, ensuring it is an integral part of the RBH Independent Living offer.