Handyperson case studies

There are many different models of Handyperson Service in existence around the country, each developing from local needs and gaps in existing services plus available resources, both in terms of funding, and the experience and expertise of local providers.

In our annual HIA Awards we have a category specifically for Handyperson Services; such is the importance that we attach to them.  Each year we receive a diverse range of applications.

Here are a few from 2017 including the winners – Revival HIA covering the Stoke-on-Trent area, and the two commended entries from Middlesborough Staying Put, and West Norfolk Care & Repair.

Revival HIA – Handyperson Service

Through regular liaison and the work of their in-house Business Development Team, Revival have built close relationships with their local commissioners  in health, social care, housing, and the police, ensuring they understand the local priorities, and develop flexible and responsive service offerings meeting commissioner/customer needs and able to manage increasing levels of complexity.  As well as providing a small repairs and maintenance service, they also offer rapid response ability (including weekend cover) to ease bed-blocking in local hospitals as an integrated part of the hospital’s Discharge Team; deliver annual winter warmth checks and measures to older households; and target hardening measures for those at risk of crime, and also specialist measures for victims of domestic violence.

The service has seen a 4.5% growth in business over the last twelve months and manages demand by having a core team who work flexibly including weekends and overtime, as well as agency staff to cover peak periods.  They have stream-lined systems that enable cases to be tracked and monitored, and such is their reputation locally that they are currently exploring the feasibility of a local subscription-based commercial model.

Revival put any potential service development opportunity through a formal business appraisal process.  They invest in their staff through regular training.  Each Handyperson is a trained Trusted Assessor for minor adaptations, and is trained to assess the client’s home for other hazards/issues and to onward refer for other help and support.


Middlesborough Staying Put Handyperson Service

An in-house agency, Middlesborough Staying Put is at the heart of many services delivered to local vulnerable householders.  As well as providing a range of HP type services, the team has also added a twist to the support provided to those being helped to transfer home from hospital by providing a shopping service as part of helping the clients to settle back into their home after a period away.  They also provide a range of Assistive Technology for clients, both prior to discharge, but also as part of their core offer.  Timeliness is assured by the HP service working with a hospital caseworker carrying out assessments whilst the patient is still in hospital, allowing works to be completed prior to discharge thereby facilitating ‘discharge to assess’ for longer term measures such as major adaptations or repairs.

The team is part of the social care department of the Council and is therefore seen as a 'person-centred' service, not a ‘property’ or asset management function, an important difference.  Though an integral part of the local authority, the team delivers commercial services to local social landlords, further contributing towards business costs and the overall efficiency of the unit.

West Norfolk Care & Repair – Handyperson Service

In contrast to Stoke (covered by Revival), and Middlesborough, West Norfolk is a mainly rural area.  The number of older people living in the area also exceeds the national average by 8%. Partly in response, the team developed a Dementia Friendly Home Scheme and an ‘Ask Lilly’ information and advice service.  Insight gained in developing those services allowed the team to demonstrate the importance of their support to hospital in-patients and health colleagues.  As well as the many HP referrals and jobs, including many for assistive technology, there have been a regular number of requests for major adaptations and repairs.

The clear recognition of the value of the service by the partners in the Better Care Fund to the prevention agenda has been followed by increasing amounts of funding and support.  As well as being trained Trusted Assessors, member of the team are Dementia Friends, and some are Dementia Champions, are RoSPA trained, and have received further training in recognising and handling hoarding behaviour.

As with the other award winners the West Norfolk Team are person-centred and don’t allow the fact that they are delivering outcomes orientated around the physical home, its conditions and the immediate environs distract them from the fact that there is a vulnerable person on the receiving end of what they do and how they do it, and that as well as delivering savings to the public purse, they are providing dignity and increased well-being to many local residents.

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