18242People in Redcar and Cleveland with learning difficulties are living more independent and fulfilling lives thanks to Redcar and Cleveland Council’s Stepping Stones project.

Although Stepping Stones has been on-going since 2014, it has recently partnered with Coast & Country’s HomeCall service to use telecare to aid resident independence.

HomeCall Independent Living is part of the Coast & Country group, and provides a variety of different services geared towards supporting elderly and vulnerable people to live independent lives. HomeCall services are cited by customers as reliable, responsive and flexible.

Six of the 18 bedrooms at the Jervaulx residential care home in Skelton were converted into specialist facilities for people with learning disabilities. Care staff are on hand to deliver a tailored package of support to residents including budgeting, cooking and general life skills.

The home has recently been updated with assistive technology (telecare) which is the use of remote sensors to detect incidents, preventing them becoming an emergency.

Three external door sensors have been installed, allowing residents to walk around the corridors in freedom, without care workers having to follow to make sure residents are not leaving the property unaccompanied.

Additionally, temperature extreme and flood detector sensors have been fitted in the communal kitchen, creating an independent cooking environment where essential life skills are being learned, with families and care workers reassured that if something does go wrong, they will be notified immediately.

Naomi Atwood, who has been a resident at Jervaulx for over a year, is looking forward to having increased independence, she said: “I’m looking forward to having my own space and the sensors will help me stay independent when I live on my own.”

Care workers at Jervaulx carry a ‘care assist’ piece of technology which immediately notifies them of which sensor has been activated, in which area of the supported housing development, allowing the workers to respond to emergencies precisely and efficiently.

Linda Cunningham, scheme manager at Stepping Stones, said: “Partnering with HomeCall has allowed us to provide an additional level of independence to the care we provide to our service users.

“By using telecare sensors, we can attend incidents as and when required, empowering our residents to learn life skills independently, without constant supervision. We hope to continue our partnership with HomeCall and will be installing additional telecare in the future, including in our new fully self-contained independent living facility for people with learning disabilities.”

Jason Lowe, head of independent living services at Coast & Country, explained: “We’ve been working with the council on a number of initiatives to enhance the use of telecare throughout the Borough.

“It’s an efficient and cost effective way of assisting elderly and vulnerable people to remain independent. We have developed a fantastic relationship with Stepping Stones and hope it will be a shining example of how telecare can support people in a residential care environment.”