Marc Greenwood
Programme Delivery Manager
People Directorate
Room 50 Civic Centre 1

21st August 2014

c/o Age UK Coventry
7 Warwick Row

Dear Marc

I am writing on behalf of Coventry Older Voices in response to the consultation regarding the closure of Aylesford Lodge and the introduction of the Telecare system. Coventry Older Voices was set up to give older people a stronger and influential voice on matters affecting older people. We would like some feedback on the points we raise, and clarity on how the council will address these concerns.

The Council report to Cabinet on Tuesday 17th June 2014 does not have any information about how the Telecare system will operate as it is a very high level strategy. We would like more information on how the Telecare system will operate on a day to day basis with the significant increase in people using the system; in particular COV are concerned about the response time if an alarm is triggered. This will of course depend on what resources the council put into managing the system.

The presentation to Coventry Older Voices suggested that older people will be encouraged to pay for the Telecare system with attendance allowance following the free 6 week support package; we can see the benefit for older people continuing with the Telecare system, but the ABC review last year removed funding from Information & Advice services supporting older people to apply for benefits such as attendance allowance. COV believe that this should be revisited to ensure the most vulnerable older people receive their benefit entitlement and can support themselves long term, reducing the support required from the council.

The success of the Telecare system will rely on an assessment process that identifies the personal circumstances of the individual and puts the correct measures in place to stop older people being readmitted to hospital. The closure of Aylesford Lodge will require all assessments to be carried out in hospital. Good communication with hospital staff will be essential to ensure that assessment is done at the right time and includes the relevant community based support services; a multi disciplinary approach is required to fully understand what older people require. The START team is already under pressure with the current caseload we would like to know what, if any, additional capacity the team have to deal with assessments to identify additional risks of sending vulnerable older people home from hospital.

Investment in the Telecare system is supposed to significantly reduce the need for facilities such as Aylesford Lodge. The council have said they are committed to providing such facilities where it is required at Jack Ball House and George Rowley House; does the council have plans to invest in these two facilities to make sure they are fit for purpose? We are concerned that older people will end up in the wrong kind of facility such as residential care to avoid the cost of using more expensive hospital beds; we would like know what work the council has done to project the need for the Telecare system and how many older people will still require support in intermediate facilities following discharge from hospital before returning home.

In summary COV believe that if the Telecare system is going to provide the support older people need and deliver the saving required, the council are going to have to:

COV believe the Telecare system should be expanded while Aylesford Lodge is still operational to make sure the facility is not required; an evaluation of how the system is working should be done before Aylesford is finally closed. COV believe older people will require additional support in applying for the benefits they are entitled to and that the decision to reduce funding to these services needs to be revisited. We believe the Telecare system can be of benefit to a lot of older people but it has to be monitored carefully to ensure it supports the most vulnerable effectively.

Yours Sincerely

Anne Lakin

Chair, Coventry Older Voices