SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers

Support planning and setting up services

Support planning

For most personal budget holders with mental health problems, the assessment and support planning stages seemed to be merged more or less into one continuous stage and for younger people in particular this worked well, as it kept a sense of momentum and 'things happening'. As with the self-assessment process, some personal budget holders began by developing their ideas for their support plan themselves and then discussed them with their community psychiatric nurse or social worker. While most of the case study areas used a support planning template, other approaches were used. A few personal budget holders said that they found it liberating to use different forms of expression, such as essays and videos, to demonstrate what they wanted and why it would help them. A few expressed frustration about how long it took to get their support plans approved and were unhappy about having to 'negotiate' the use of their personal budget.

Older personal budget holders had far more mixed experiences of support planning. Again the assessment and support planning stages often seemed to merge but the process was not always seen as being positive. A number of personal budget holders could not remember their support plan being discussed with them, and/or felt that they did not have much say in what was included (e.g. if previous packages of care simply were being converted into their personal budget).

However, a significant proportion of older personal budget holders were very clear about what they wanted in their support plan and felt that this was respected. Most older personal budget holders had developed their support plans with their social worker or with help from a local support provider organisation, and they found this extremely valuable, as again it encouraged them to consider different options and/or to explore ways in which support could be arranged to fit with their lifestyle or family circumstances.

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  • SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers