Published 25 March 2021

Empowerment and support is at the heart of West Dunbartonshire’s new assessment system for social care, set to launch on April 1st.

The new framework – approved by the Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Board after a thorough practical evaluation of the process – takes a strengths-based approach to care by seeking to build on what’s strong in people as well as identifying areas that require support in relation to their health, wellbeing and independent living.

By working together with people who are being assessed, the new approach will devise tailor-made support specifically designed to improve lives through positive partnership and constructive communication.

This refined process was developed with input from staff, third sector partners and members of the public who have experience of health and social care assessment.

Drawing on their invaluable experience, the new assessment – named My Life Assessment – and approach will help to deliver equitable services and help inform decisions about which organisations are best placed to support people. This could be from the HSCP itself or from the range of partners and resources that exist across West Dunbartonshire.

The approach will help make sure that people receive the right support of the highest quality for the length of time that they need it.

By recognising strengths and focusing on goals, the assessment promotes independent living wherever possible to enable people to live as well as possible and feel in control of their lives.

Beth Culshaw, Chief Officer of West Dunbartonshire HSCP, said: “This is a significant step forward for adult social care provision that we believe will improve the lives of the people who receive support.

“By working collaboratively in equal partnership with each individual to develop their strengths as well as supporting in areas where help is needed, we can deliver an impactful, bespoke service.

“The My Life Assessment is a key part of our approach to implementing Self Directed Support, aided by feedback from the Care Inspectorate and the valuable input of staff, partners and people who have experience of being assessed by the HSCP.

“We are excited to be able to see the result of this collective hard work come to fruition in the shape of a thorough assessment that we are confident will improve the care experience for people in their time of need.

“We are also pleased to see that the new assessment and approach fits well with the recent review of adult social care in Scotland.”

Evaluation of the new assessment will include seeking feedback from those who use it, both staff and people who are assessed, to ensure the process is working as intended and establish if any improvements are required.

However, the assessment has already come through a rigorous development process that, crucially, reflected on valuable input from people who have lived experience of care.

Among those consulted was Kenneth McGowan, 25, from Renton who believes the new strengths-based approach to assessment will make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Kenneth, who has cerebral palsy, said: “It’s about providing care that supports you to live rather than just calculating how many hours are required to get the tasks you need done.

“It’s a very easy process. The questions are clear and it’s reassuring to have a care professional going through everything with you to ensure you understand all the options.

“By considering your strengths as well as where you need support, the new assessment puts in place care that is specifically designed for each individual and takes direction from what you want to do with your life.

“It’s a positive change that will offer people more freedom and opportunities to feel in control of their lives, and change those lives for the better.”