People with learning disabilities living in places away from their homes: report - easy read

This is the updated version of the easy read report from a group working on Delayed Discharge and Complex Care.

People with learning disabilities living in places away from their homes - Easy Read Report

Scottish Government and COSLA want to thank everyone who has taken part in the group doing this work.

COSLA is the group name for all the 32 local authorities in Scotland.

People with learning disabilities should not have to live in places far away from their homes.

Scottish Government and COSLA want to make sure this does not happen.

To make sure this does not happen things need to change.

There should be:

  • less placements far from their homes
  • less unsuitable hospital stays

People and their families must be able to choose these.

People should only be in hospital for as long as it takes for assessment and treatment.

The United Nations says this is the right way to support people.

This will also go into the new Human Rights Bill in Scotland.

Doing this means people with learning disabilities can:

  • lead good lives
  • live within their families or communities
  • get support that matches their needs and human rights

Some people with higher care needs are still in these hospitals instead of their own homes.

A group was set up in 2020.

The group was to look at the helping people to get home from hospital sooner.

These were people with:

  • learning disabilities
  • long term mental health conditions

There was a lot of information about learning disabilities.

There was not much information about long term mental health.

The people in the group were mainly:

  • experts in learning disabilities
  • family carers of people with learning disabilities

They agreed that they needed to:

  • Look at the issues of mental health
  • Recognise that the solutions might not be the same

In 2020 the group told Scottish Government and COSLA that they should do 2 things:

  • have a fund to help with the work
  • have a new way to find the right place for people

People with learning disabilities have the same human rights as everyone else.

They should be treated with dignity and respect like everyone else.

They have a right to their own home, relationships, and support to live their lives.

This is the reason for this work.

It is wrong to send people far away from their homes.

It is wrong to send them to hospitals for the wrong reasons.

The report showed this is happening because there is:

  • not enough money
  • not enough places for people to live
  • not enough suitable care providers

Sometimes all of these were the reason.

It is harder to plan for people leaving hospitals because there is not enough information.

It is not good for people ready to go home to be with people still getting treatment.

It makes things harder for the staff to give safe and good care.

BBC filming in England showed people have been badly abused in some hospitals.

It costs a lot of money for people to live in these places.

The group found that keeping people in hospitals in and outside of Scotland cost £59 million in 2020.

There are not enough houses for everyone.

Local councils look at their housing plans regularly.

This includes housing to suit the needs of people with learning disabilities.

Some people with learning disabilities are not able to make their own decisions.

They need other people to help them.

When this happens, there are rules to be followed. This makes sure their rights are respected.

In Scotland there are good examples of planning for people leaving hospital.

Some people told the group what makes this harder for them to do.

These people include:

  • Providers
  • Health and Social Care Partnerships
  • Commissioners

Care Providers said :

  • some care packages make it harder to do their job well
  • not enough homes suit peoples' needs
  • employing and keeping staff in the job is not easy
  • specialist help is not quick or easy to get
  • vacancies in houses means losing money
  • not enough time for good planning to support people well

Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP's) told us these things:

  • hospitals are a way to stop risk instead of someone needing medical help
  • it is hard to find the right providers
  • partnerships do not always agree who can live in the community

Commissioners told us these things:

  • the high cost of individual support means long term commitment
  • commissioning hardly ever includes people and their families
  • sometimes assessments are not done well
  • rushing assessments through can be damaging
  • when health needs change the home might not be suitable any more

The new way to find the right place for people will be called a register.

It will help stop people going into hospitals or being sent away from where they live.

It will be used the same way across all of Scotland.

It will be used for people with learning disabilities whose support is paid for by:

  • Local Authorities
  • Health Boards

And who are:

  • Admitted to hospitals or treatment units
  • Living in unsuitable places away from their communities
  • Finding the place where they live is not working for them

There will be things to make sure this is working well. These include:

  • A set of standards to follow
  • A support network for practitioners
  • A national support group

The money for this work will be used to help people:

  • get out of hospital quicker
  • come back to their local area
  • be part of their community
  • get better services
  • choose where they get hospital support
  • who are not admitted to hospital because of behaviour that challenges support

The Scottish Government and COSLA will check to make sure the Fund is used properly.

Local Authorities will have to report on how they use the fund.

The group think Scottish Government and COSLA should have a policy to make all of this happen.

They also think there should be people who make sure this work is being done well.

It would be a mix of professionals and people with lived experience.

They think there should be more information about people with mental health conditions.

People with mental health conditions and those who support them should be involved in the group.

We will measure how well this is working by checking our mission statement.

It says we need to have less:

  • placements far from their homes
  • unsuitable hospital stays

People and families must be able to choose these.

They should only be in hospital for as long as it takes for assessment and treatment.

We want to see this change happen.



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