A new supported living service is opening in the West Midlands to enable people living in long-term hospital placements to return to living in their own community.
Six houses, located in Walsall, are being adapted by ECHO Support Living Services to meet the needs of individuals who have a severe learning disability, autism or complex behaviours.
Service users will be supported by a team of staff to lead as independent life as possible and to be an active part of their local communities.
The project will create up to 60 jobs for local people who will be trained in positive behaviour support and to understand and minimise complex behaviours to support each person in their own home.
Sharena Record, regional operations director for the Midlands and registered manager for the service, said: “This new service delivers the Transforming Care Agenda, to enable people from the Black Country who have been in hospital for a long time to return to their local community.
“Local commissioners have worked with us to develop a service that meets their needs and those of service users who will receive the support they need to lead fulfilling lives, with as much independence as possible.”
ECHO will work with service users, families and advocates to ensure they have choices in all aspects of their daily lives by developing an individual plan.
They will help them personal care, managing their finances, finding work or education, shopping, developing new skills, looking after the home and socialising.
Record added: “Opportunities will be available for local people to work within the service and we make it a priority to provide comprehensive training to ensure all staff have the necessary skills to provide truly person-centred care.”
The news comes after the government pledged £62 million in funding to help discharge patients with learning disabilities and/or autism from mental health hospitals into the community.
According to Mencap figures, there were more than 2,000 people with a learning disability and/or autism locked away in inpatient units in June.
Delayed discharges have continued with at least 120 people still stuck in hospital when they were ready for discharge in May 2020, the charity has noted, with the average total length of stay in inpatient units at 5.7 years.