Author: Jenny Date
I’m Jenny Date a parent using an Individual Service Fund for my Daughter Carla with Somerset County Councils Learning Disability Provider Service (LDPS).
My daughter Carla has Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities and limited vision. She also has severe epilepsy which means she needs to carry an emergency pack which all staff need to be trained in how to use.
When Carla was in Education she was going out from the classroom regularly, having lots of different experiences, and I saw her make great strides so I knew this was important for her.
I had not really been happy with adult services as it was not individualised and Carla was not going out. My husband and I have always taken Carla out at weekends but we began to lose confidence in doing this as Carla would become anxious and stressed which would trigger her epilepsy. We knew she loved going out listening and taking in all the sounds around her, and not doing this regularly was causing her anxiety.
Then I met with Steve Jones LDPS and a Social Worker, this was in 2012. We were lucky that the Social Worker knew about ISF’s. They completed a reassessment and additional hours from this assessment were used as an Individual Service Fund. Carla then began to access her community again using this from the day service and within a month her anxiety had ceased which I knew it would.
I then volunteered to be part of a project a year later where ISF were being piloted by Somerset County Council. I met with two very good Social Workers who completed a brilliant assessment that reflected Carla’s needs.
This is how it works
I have an amount in hours that I can use flexibly to use as I like for the day service and respite house.
The ISF means Carla has 1:1 staff support at the day service but has additional support to go out 3 times a week to do things like swimming and visiting Glastonbury Abbey. If I don’t use these hours because we are away or have an appointment then I bank these to use at a later date.
Carla has an allocation of nights per year at the respite house but I also have a yearly allocation of hours that I can use however I like. We use this to either have additional staff when Carla stays at the respite house so that she can go out, or use it to have a day’s respite at the weekend using the day service building as a base.
What this means for us
This works well for us as we know Carla is having a far better quality of respite and we can then relax and enjoy our time as we know Carla is happy. I can’t say enough what a difference this has made to Carla’s quality of life and how that in turn has impacted on our quality of life as her family carers. She now has a full and varied day every day, doing things she thoroughly enjoys (the swimming, for example is her greatest pleasure). She is a happy young woman who is much more responsive in so many ways.
This has made the world of difference to us as a family.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Carla Uses an ISF © Jenny Date 2016.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
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An Individual Service Fund is a useful way in which resources can be used flexibly to achieve personalised support.