A staggering 27,500 items which help people live safely and independently are loaned out to Sandwell residents every year. And adult social care services make sure that 93 per cent of people who need aids – like walking frames, high seated chairs, perching stools and toilet-related accessories – get them within seven days of being requested.
Now Sandwell Council's cabinet member social care, Councillor Ann Shackleton, is reminding people that wherever possible the council collects and recycles items when they are no longer needed.
The service, which integrates adult social care and health in a pooled budget, called the Better Care Fund, recycles more than half of items which are then suitable to be loaned out again.
The value of these recycled items in 2016/17 totalled a staggering £1.5m, enabling the service to significantly reduce spending on new equipment.
Figures released show more than 12,000 people are currently provided with equipment, to help keep them safe and living independently in their home, with another 2,500 active users of Telecare in Sandwell.
Councillor Shackleton said: "One of the major achievements of the past 12 months was to merge the ordering of equipment and Telecare onto the same system, which has allowed health and social care professionals access to a single ordering system and removed a lot of duplication.
"People who need equipment have it delivered within seven days of request and we are now aiming to increase the recycling rate of many of the items loaned out. I would urge anyone who has loaned items that are no longer needed to let us know so we can collect and recycle them for other people to use.
"The service has also introduced a dedicated occupational therapist role, which has led to greater knowledge of equipment and its suitability as well as realising significant year-on-year savings."
Prevention Stores is the council's in-house provider of equipment and Telecare in Sandwell and loans all kinds of household items to enable people to live safely and independently.
Telecare is the provision of a range of equipment and sensors that alert a carer or professional if something has or hasn’t happened in a property, for example, a person not returning to bed during the night after visiting the toilet. Other sensors include remote smoke detection, medication reminding devices as well as pagers to alert carers to any emergencies. Many items can also be linked to Sandwell’s Community Alarms service.