Improving outcomes for service users in adult placement - Commissioning and care management

Commissioning adult placement - Adult placement profile

The project group discussions suggest that the extent to which adult placement is known varies widely between and within localities. Even where adult placement has been in operation for many years, awareness can be quite localised, perhaps limited to just a few social workers. While care managers and others attending the project discussion groups were quite knowledgeable about adult placement, they confirmed that many of their colleagues were not: they might, for example, consider placements as mini care homes. Participants thought most people - service users, prospective adult placement carers, practitioners - learned about adult placement by word of mouth.

At a national level, the National Association of Adult Placement Services (NAAPS) works on behalf of its member schemes to enhance understanding of adult placement. NAAPS is currently looking at the 'branding’ of the sector, and whether the term 'adult placement’ misrepresents a service based on individualised support in a family setting.

In all localities visited, discussion group participants highlighted the importance of increasing awareness of adult placement among commissioners, aiming to ensure that it is always included as an option on health and social services menus (see Local needs). Participants spoke of the need to improve communication between schemes and social/healthcare professionals: 'Good working relationships need to be worked at, over time,’ one scheme manager said.

Participants suggested, for example, that scheme staff could visit community teams; an SSD finance officer could shadow an adult placement worker; or local authority and scheme staff could get involved in each other’s groups and networks (e.g. joining health action or person-centred planning coordinating groups). Recent initiatives include:

Raising the profile of adult placement was an issue in all localities. Successful current practice includes:

Practice points

Senior managers should:

Line managers should:

Care managers should:

Adult placement schemes should: