personal health budgetsUnderstanding personal health budgets and individual needs

Personal Health Budgets 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. Plus, family members, personal assistants or any direct carers need to be in a position to support the individual fully and professionally. In fact, anyone involved in the process of PHBs needs to have a grasp of their aims, processes and management.

This means making a commitment to reaching the right level of understanding not just of general health issues, but also the way in which the Personal Health Budget system can be of maximum benefit.

Applying for a PHB

If you or someone you care for has complex or long-term health needs, then you are entitled to apply for a Personal Health Budget. The starting point is to discuss individual requirements with the healthcare professional you deal with most – which is often your GP.

There should be no hesitation in making this initial approach. Even if a PHB is not appropriate, there are still ways to explore a more individualised programme of health and wellbeing support for each person.

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

Incidentally, the individual’s social care budget or Independent Living Fund payments can also be paid in to this same bank account. However, beyond those specific things, this bank account can only be used for managing the PHB.

With the funds agreed to match individual needs, payments for health and wellbeing support could then be made either with direct payment, accessing services with notional transactions, or commissioning services provided by third parties who 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

The carers, personal assistants or health staff who support an individual in making best use of their PHB, have a responsibility to advise and recommend 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, with your 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 this training on a highly bespoke basis – as quite clearly the questions, issues and opportunities for each individual can vary enormously.

This training can be delivered in the individual’s own home if required, 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 in to a domestic setting.

One of the biggest advantages of the initiative is the option to build a care plan that keeps you in your own home for longer, and with more active support.

However, this makes it even more vital that carers, PAs and even the individuals themselves have a greater awareness of what is involved in providing health care support at a consistently high quality level.

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 also ensure that carers and PAs can offer advice and support from a position of knowledge and empathy.

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 would be pleased to provide intuitive training support specific to your individual areas of interest, in a way that helps you to go forwards confidently with Personal Health Budgets.