Reshaping care for older people in Ayrshire

From left, Phil White, South Ayrshire Community Health Partnership, Jean Hendry, Healthcare Manager for Community and Partnerships, and Shiona Johnstone, East Ayrshire Community Health Partnership.
From left, Phil White, South Ayrshire Community Health Partnership, Jean Hendry, Healthcare Manager for Community and Partnerships, and Shiona Johnstone, East Ayrshire Community Health Partnership.

Older people in Ayrshire and Arran are being increasingly supported to enjoy fuller, positives lives in their own communities.

But there are still plenty of challenges ahead. That was the key message at a major learning and sharing event organised last month by the Reshaping Care for Older People teams from East, North and South Ayrshire Community Health Partnerships.

The event attracted 140 representatives from health, the three local councils, community and voluntary groups and care homes. It gave people the opportunity to share information and learning about how the Change Fund1 is reshaping care for older people in communities across Ayrshire and Arran. The event offered the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of reshaping care programmes initiated over the past three years using the Change Fund and to highlight the positive impact on people’s lives.

Welcoming participants, John Burns, Chief Executive, stressed the importance of the many initiatives which are successfully supporting older people to stay safe and well in their own communities. He told the audience: “Through the work of the Change Fund, and by testing new ways of working, new thinking and challenging the status quo, we are finding innovative ways of reshaping care for older people The work you and many others have been doing in reshaping care is at the forefront of innovation. We now need to ensure we are truly learning from that innovation. As long as we are willing to openly discuss challenges and explore how to respond to them we can deliver high quality services to our communities. We should build on the strength of our genuine partnership, now just between the health service and local authorities, but with the third sector and our communities. I would like to acknowledge your hard work and commitment in taking forward change and reshaping care for older people. The people at this event are challenging the status quo and I welcome that.”

Jean Hendry, Health Care Manager for Community and Partnerships, outlined past progress and future challenges. She said: “Having started to establish new services for older people, it’s very important that we can demonstrate the positive, measureable outcomes of these changes. We will then be in a position to move on after the Change Fund to ensure these changes are embedded in the services available in communities. In this way we can continue to support older people to be cared for in their own homes, so that they only have to come into hospital when they really need to. Before the Change Fund there was often no real alternative to hospital admission for people of 75 and older, especially out-of-hours. We now have more infrastructure in place to support care at home 24 hours a day and we know from feedback that it’s what older people want.”

A booklet summarising case studies and patient stories from across the area featured tangible examples of how partners are working together to improve outcomes for older people. A copy of the booklet is available at

The third sector interface is the term used to describe the range of voluntary and community groups who are a key part of the reshaping care vision. The interface’s three lead officers, Fiona Skilling, Jim Nichols and Marie Oliver, gave an impressive overview of the substantial work taking place in local communities led by volunteers.

Stuart Gaw, Intermediate Care and Enablement Manager, outlined how community-based intermediate care services are being developed in East, North and South Ayrshire to support people who need to be cared for at home, or need extra support following discharge.

Other key themes discussed by participants during workshop sessions included support for carers, housing adaptations, dementia, supporting care homes, managing your medicines, telecare and telehealth, nutrition, community hospitals and out-of-hours nursing.

Jean Hendry added: “This event was a wonderful example of how people from different backgrounds, areas, disciplines and professions could share and learn from each other’s experiences.”