Personal Health Budgets – What Are They and How Can They Help?

  personal health budgets

Understanding personal health budgets and individual needs

Personal Health Budgets (PHB) are designed to give patients who have “opted in” much greater control over their health care provision. In essence they have opportunities to benefit from more “person-centred” care.

For this system to work, the individual needs to be comfortable with how the Personal Health Budgets (PHB) work. Family members, personal assistants or any direct carers should be able to support the individual fully and professionally. Additionally, it is important for them to be in a position to do so. In fact, anyone involved in the process of PHBs needs to have a grasp of their aims, processes and management.

Making a commitment to reaching the right level of understanding is crucial. This not only involves general health issues. But also the way in which the Personal Health Budget system can be of maximum benefit.

Applying for a Personal Health Budgets (PHB)

A person with complex or long-term health needs or their caregiver can apply for a Personal Health Budget. The starting point is to discuss individual requirements with the healthcare professional you deal with most. This is often your GP.

There should be no hesitation in making this initial approach. There are still ways to explore a more individualized program of health and well-being support for each person. Even if a PHB is not appropriate.

If approved, the individual needs to set up a separate bank account with the express purpose of handling the money issued for their Personal Health Budgets.

The same bank account can also receive payments for the individual’s social care budget or Independent Living Fund. However, managing the PHB is the only purpose for which this bank account can be used.

Funds are agreed to match individual needs. The individual could make payments for health and wellbeing support by direct payment. They could also access services with notional transactions or commission services provided by third parties. These third parties receive funds from the NHS for this purpose.

At the heart of it, is individual choice and control for the person with the PHB.

Helping individuals to maximise their personal health budgets

Those who support an individual in using their PHB have a responsibility to provide advice and recommendations. They should do this in a way that puts the individual’s needs and preferences to the forefront.

By the very nature of a PHB, these are people with long-term or complex health conditions and disabilities. This means they may face daily distractions and issues that make decision making even more of a challenge.

If you are in a position of trust as a personal assistant or carer, you will need to combine your intuitive understanding of their medical requirements and obstacles. You will also need to have a determination to adhere to a person-centred approach.

Carers and PAs may need to guide and inform these critically ill individuals, and those with complicated health requirements, in a way that seeks out personal preferences, when the person is confused and unsure.

You may also play a pivotal role in keeping all involved parties in the loop. This can be a balancing act. For example, supporting the individual PHB-holder in communicating with their wider care team, including health service providers and relevant family members, while still protecting their human right to privacy.

Managing PHBs effectively

The whole ethos of the system is to provide greater choice over such things such as the equipment, therapies and personal care levels that individuals need.

However, the individual has a finite amount of money to spend. Managing it, to achieve all health and wellbeing goals, may sometimes be challenging.

If extra support is needed to help an individual to manage their PHB, there are bodies specifically structured to assist in organising, buying and managing social and health care provision at home, such as Salvere.

Personal health budget training

There is a lot to think about and manage. You need to maintain freedom of choice at the same time as safeguarding health care provision.

This is why many individuals and carers choose to commission specific training.

Personal Health Budget training provides the individuals and their representatives with the skills and insights to plan and agree care with their local CCG. They can explore ways of budgeting and spending, to make sure they meet the specifications on their plan.

Caring for Care delivers highly bespoke training to cater to individual differences in questions, issues, and opportunities. The training team tailors the training to each person’s unique needs.

If required, the trainers can deliver this training in the individual’s own home or any other location at a time that suits them best.

This can be important for working around the challenges and limitations of complex medical conditions.

Part of the service includes competency assessments. Our professional team can also help formulate care plans, sign off plans and provide an ongoing clinical oversight service and risk assessments.

PHBs put you in the driving seat but our training provides maps and compasses!

Complex care training

If you are the individual eligible for a PHB or a carer or personal assistant, then you may well be bringing more health care provision into a domestic setting. This can present new challenges and opportunities for everyone involved.

You can create a care plan that lets you stay longer in your home, which is one of the primary benefits of the initiative. With more active support, you can benefit from this personalized approach.

Carers, PAs, and individuals must be aware of what’s involved in providing high-quality healthcare support. They need to be knowledgeable and provide care with consistent quality. This is even more vital with the new initiative.

For many, this means commissioning complex care training modules. These provide vital insights and understanding, to be more aware of the medical requirements and potential problems.

The course can ensure carers and PAs have knowledge and empathy to offer advice and support. This can help them better care for those they are assisting.

This could start from developing the vital observation skills needed in a critical care environment.

Can you monitor pulse, respiration rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, axillary, urinalysis, oral and tympanic temperatures and blood sugar levels?

If you are likely to be working and supporting people with these requirements, do you have a good level of understanding of the daily challenges they face, such as monitoring and controlling glucose levels?

The complex care courses offered by Caring for Care also include a wide range of daily needs for individuals with serious medical conditions. For example, covering epilepsy medication, stoma care, and suction and ventilation training. There are many more options too.

For more details on Personal Health Budget training and Critical Care Training, contact us today. The team at Caring for Care offers intuitive training support tailored to your individual areas of interest. This will help you move forward confidently with Personal Health Budgets.

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