Help to Live at Home Members’ Event


13th March 2012 – Devizes Sports Centre

Wiltshire & Swindon Users’ Network introduced Wiltshire Council’s new Help to Live at Home service at its 20th anniversary forums in November 2011.  This new service continues to be developed to give more choice and control to people who need support to help them live independently.

During the November forums, Wiltshire Council informed members that it had streamlined the number of domiciliary care organisations it works with to Enara, Leonard Cheshire, Somerset Care and Aster Living.  If people are offered a service from one of the above organisations, the assessment will look at what other help is available through Help to Live at Home. WSUN are currently supporting members who will monitor services provided on behalf of Wiltshire Council.

Presentation 1 – Medequip

The morning presentation focused on the new Medequip service commissioned by Wiltshire Council. From 1st April 2012, Medequip will provide advice, information and display independent living aids.  These may be provided by Wiltshire Council or available for purchase by people who do not meet the eligibility criteria set by Wiltshire Council.  The range of the equipment will be extended to include assisted technology for example, fall sensors and Telecare services.  After the presentation, members raised the following questions and responses are noted.

Q.      If you are in sheltered accommodation do you have to buy it?

If you are on the social/free/health authority you will get it for free or you can buy it.  We are giving people the choice.

Q.      Would you be willing to come out to the villages?

We have a mobile van

Q.      What is the mobile van?

Retail is new venture. You can refer yourself – it will be available for the whole county as of 1 April 2012.

Q.      Who will do assessments?

You don’t necessarily need an OT assessment.  You can go through the council.

For people who want to refer themselves.  They can go to the retail outlet and have an assessment, or the ILC or Calne depot.

Q.      Pressure selling?

A trusted assessor will be used.

Aim – only prescribed suitable equipment.  No pressure selling.  Retailers used will be accredited by Medequip.  Any hint of pressure selling will not be tolerated.  Treat people in the right way.

Q.      How do you envisage running out of hours service? (critical equipment, beds, mattresses)

There is a red sticker, with the telephone number (white writing) on the equipment.  You can ring 365 days a year.

Members then participated in table top discussions to answer the following questions and share any other comments and concerns they would like noted.

What equipment do you know that Medequip can supply?

  • Bed
  • Toilet lift
  • Intercom
  • Furniture raisers (bed, settee)
  • Grab rails
  • Frame around toilet
  • Walk in bath/shower
  • Wrist pendants
  • Digital television systems
  • Bath stool / seats
  • Key safe
  • Walking frames
  • Monkey pole
  • Tray trolley
  • Kettle tipper
  • Hoists, slings
  • Cutlery, jar openers
  • Tap turners
  • Tipping stools
  • Movement, bed sensors
  • Dressing aids
  • Alarms
  • Ramps
  • Transfer boards

 What do you think would work well / would not work well for you?

  • Rise and recline chairs
  • Gas monitors (carbon monoxide, smoke detectors)
  • Lighting options
  • Adjustable beds
  • Planning in advance for grab rails etc. before you need them
  • Out of hours service to repair equipment
  • More advertising about the Service to spread the word
  • Speak to people who can and will answer questions
  • Right assessment in the first place especially for specialist equipment
  • Wide choice of equipment
  • Would like – scrubby feet wash mat – bought own; bath raisers, electric bed (hospital type). IT equipment,
  • Ideally need a scooter storage
  • Outside surface – non slip
  • Electric wheelchair insurance options
  • A catalogue of what is available and who to contact about it

Members’ Written Comments

2 members wanted to thank Medequip for the key safe

No cold calling

Carrying logs into the house – small carrying device?

Go to Medequip for information and advice etc. then shop around for the best price

Bring mobile van around to the villages and let us try the equipment, not just see them.

Not advising on road worthy scooters

Selling wheelchairs independently.  Need driving assessments.  Accidents are happening.

Handout copies for the presentation were ridiculously complex and self-promotional for this audience

Excellent service and quality of equipment provided

High seat loo – works very well

ILC has a good variety of equipment

Appropriate places to live – ground floor flats don’t need ramps

Consider needs of people with a visual impairment

 Members’ Written Concerns

 The time to see an O.T is still too long. (3 responses)

Equipment faults not being rectified as soon as possible and in emergencies out of hours there isn’t a contact number

There is an overlap of different organisations e.g. services for ex-forces personnel/ Age UK

Passed from one organisation to another

Don’t know who to go to in the first place – no clear pathway if you need help to live at home

People don’t know what is available (out of a group of 8, 2 people knew about Medequip and 2 people knew a little bit)

Worried about the commercial aspect

It takes time to get adaptations and you have to try lots of other aids first

Steps to get into the bath but still having trouble getting out

Hand held device to turn lights off/on

Bed rails – one size fits all not always successful – tangled in them

Travelling issues – people have to travel to go and see equipment – difficult if people are vulnerable

People living in their own homes are not as aware as people living in sheltered housing

Visual aids for TVs – do not work well

Smoke detectors can be frightening and noisy – needs regular maintenance and testing

Questions sent to Medequip & Wiltshire Council

  1. Do individuals need to be registered disabled to get the service or equipment?
  2. Leaflets are good (can they be published in matt) is it necessary to have two?
  3. Where can people see what items are available, where to see a demonstration and try equipment and who to contact for an assessment?
  4. How do housing associations and other organisations such as Age UK fit in with the new service?
  5. How do I arrange to have a stairlift installed in my own home as a self funder?
  6. Who do you contact if there is a problem at the weekend?
  7. I would like my bathroom to be converted into a wetroom – as a self funder in my own home, who do I contact?
  8. When Wiltshire Council say people can sort things out for themselves – do they mean people can pay for it?
  9. As a commercial business – what sort of profit is anticipated?  Will equipment be cheaper to buy from Medequip?
  10. Why is equipment so much more expensive  from Medequip than from a catalogue i.e. pushers?
  11. More choice for bathrooms, wet-room with toilet and hand basin, shower and high toilet – easier than low toilet, positioning of handrails/flexible to go up/down

 Presentation 2 – Wiltshire Medical Services (WMS)

The afternoon presentation focused on the new Telecare Response service provided by Wiltshire Medical Services (WMS) on behalf of Medequip and Wiltshire Council.  WMS have provided out of hours GP services for many years and highlighted that Telecare operators have expertise on hand to ensure a high quality service is delivered.  People can opt for a basic package whereby, the operator will summon support from named emergency contacts or a more individual response that includes sending a support worker to the customer’s home.  Telecare is relatively new to Wiltshire – for the last 2 years there has been a pilot in West Wiltshire and Help to Live at Home in the Trowbridge area.  From the 1st April 2012 the whole county will have this.

After the presentation, members raised the following questions and responses are noted.

Questions from Wiltshire Council/Wiltshire Medical Services

Q.    Who assesses what needs to be in house?

Assessment from Wiltshire council, provide basic kit – button and kit.

Help to live at home provider involved.  Support planning with customer – whether Telecare equipment is needed.

Q.    Will it be for people on direct payments?

Leslie Entwistle to check

Q.    Are there set prices?

£3.75 week for alarm.  This does not include a physical response which is £4.00 extra a week.

 Q.    Key pads – it is a requirement to be on the system?

Yes – it causes awful difficulty is a person is on the floor and you can’t get in.

Q.    Could a neighbour have a key?

You can have 3 key holders in the order you give them.

Q.    In a Warden Controlled property how would you get in?

If you have a hardware scheme, we can release the door from the centre and pop the door and then get to your door.  Not in every warden controlled scheme.

Q.    Are you liaising with the hospital service?

Help to Live at Home will be based in the local hospitals, Bath, Swindon and Salisbury. 

Telecare connected to social care.

Aster living will have the phone.  The number will be advertised.

During table top discussions, members had an opportunity to answer the following question and share any other comments and concerns they would like noted.

How can Wiltshire Medical Service gain customers’ feedback after they have used the Telecare service?

  • Give client / customer their individual choice of the way they feedback in the format they choose
  • Pre-arranged follow up phone call / texting / email
  • Assessment – simple form – tick boxes
  • Phone call to follow up / from WMS
  • Monitoring group
  • Feedback / accessible / different formats (Blind / Deaf) languages
  • When [people] join the system – ask how they would like to feedback
  • SAE and a card/postal questionnaire to send back
  • Anonymous if you want to
  • Complaints procedure
  • Things that worked well – compliments
  • Tell customers what to expect from the service
  • Tick box questionnaire – whenever ‘they’ call drop it off with a SAE
  • Personal follow up visits
  • Service user feedback with paid expenses
  • Point of contact at WMS
  • Directly to the responder
  • Customer reference groups

Members’ concerns

Cost – be upfront about costs £3.75 basic + £4 for support worker response?

Concerned about the key entry / if they leave the job will they still know the keysafe code? / can the codes be changed?

Response times / how many responders / how long will it last?

Who will the responders be / will they be trained / English speaking

Cost – additional money for response – not everyone can afford it – unclear about funding

Rural setting – don’t have local knowledge

Information on the computer database about people’s locations etc.

Basic service will put a strain on paramedics because service won’t be sending out the GP

People around Wiltshire are employed so that can reach areas

Need clear information on the cost – be specific on prices

Closure of local hospitals / out of hours service

Out of hours expensive (for going to collect a TV remote?) Example of flood in bathroom – are other services involved?

Confusion over access (chain locks on/ keys in the lock)

Identify confusion – uniforms / identity cards / client information

Time limited support – 30 minutes

Members Comments

Everyone wants to stay at home for as long as possible

Little things can really help / good idea

Joint assessments – need to be linked in with fire brigade, Bobby Van, Help to Live at Home

Great response from MWS in a recent incident with real care shown to the patient

Good service if linked with other services and not stand alone

Saves on the use of 999 calls

I think it was all very good – I learned a lot

Fantastic company – people are trained in medical stuff so can give a good response

Can assess over the phone

20 minutes is an acceptable response time from phone call to door

Depends on staff level of responders

If people have local relative, neighbour, response rate can be quicker

Wiltshire’s older residents feel very looked after

Visit local groups e.g. church

Give fair time to bed in the service

Need more than 2 response centres – at least 4

Members’ questions from the table top discussions sent to Wiltshire Medical Services and Wiltshire Council

  1. Is WMS taking over Lifeline?
  2. How will Telecare work /blend with existing such as Lifeline?
  3. WMS linked with mental health, CPN’s – down to the GP to link afterwards
  4. How can people arrange to have a response services from WMS?
  5. How will the new service take over a customer’s existing service provided by another organisation?
  6. I am happy with my current service – do people have to change providers?
  7. Can a member of the public contact Access for Care or is access only through Telecare /social services?
  8. 4/5 years ago there was talk of Telecare – what has been happening in the meantime?
  9. How far from the visit do responders work?
  10. How do housing associations work with the service?
  11. How many responders in each local area?  If there is a lot of demand at one time – will they cope?
  12. What support is available to self-funders?
  13. Is there more than one system running?
  14. How is the quality of the response evaluated? by whom? Accountable to?
  15. Would there be a different level of service depending on where you live?
  16. How do you manage access to and security of house/keys?
  17. Will WSUN members be involved in training for appropriate manner of care by staff?
  18. Are there any non-executive/possible service users on the ‘Board’ / Trustees etc.?


When you come out of hospital still needing care and with no time live in carer – is access to care informed?

Are neighbourhood teams fairly evenly, equitably spread over Wiltshire?

Sheltered Housing Scheme not having adequate housing for mobility scooters – scooter sheds are not safe to be kept in hallways – cannot get insurance for scooters lost outside.

When a Client complains that something is wrong (the support worker does not turn up/goes to the wrong house) is there a follow up and is the client notified?

Time to see an Occupational Therapist from the Neighbourhood Team

Lots of Housing still does not have access that is safe and available to all.

We would like WSUN to co ordinate a day at ILC with the Retailers and Assessors.

There are still no lifts at Chippenham Station.

Who is monitoring the home from Hospital service is running effectively and helping all the Patients that it should? Liaison is essential Salisbury Hospital has 490 beds.

Who wrote the questions for these seminars – they are too broad

How do we find out more – we’ve heard lots!

Had an operation 12 years ago had service ‘on tap’ – not now

Community toilet facilities should include high toilets


Over 60 members attended the session and overall, feedback was extremely positive.  Members have asked for more informative events with independent living products.

Please contact Adult Social Care Advice and Information if you would like more information about Help to Live at Home.  (0300 456 0111 / text phone 01225 712500 / :

Page last updated: October 15th, 2012 at 5:56 am