The Integrated Care Fund (ICF) is provided by Welsh Government as an enabler to delivering on the Social Services and Wellbeing Act and the more recent A Healthier Wales Strategy. Funding is provided to support the priority Groups for Integration as specified in the Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014, as follows:
- Older people with complex needs and long term conditions, including Dementia;
- People with learning disabilities;
- Children with complex needs; and
- Carers, including young carers
It aims to drive and enable integrated and collaborative working between social services, health, housing and the third sector and independent sectors. It is intended to help Regional Partnership Boards develop and test new approaches and service delivery models that will support the underpinning principles of integration and prevention - Evaluation and learning lie at the core of the Integrated Care Fund.
For these priority groups, the current ICF guidance provides aims for integrated service delivery models and approaches that will:
- Enable older people to maintain their independence and remain at home, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and delayed discharges;
- Enable families to meet their children's needs and help them to stay together;
- Support carers in their caring roles and enable them to maintain their own wellbeing;
- Support the development of integrated care and support services for individuals with complex needs, including people with learning disabilities, children with complex needs and autism;
- Offer early support and prevent the escalation of needs; and
- Promote emotional health and wellbeing as well as prevent poor mental health.
ICF is intended to assist regional partnership boards in developing and testing new integrated models for health and care, to include:
- Partnership working and co-operation: Regional partners are expected to take a collaborative and co-productive approach to planning, designing, testing and evaluation ICF projects across the region, with a view to enhancing and mainstreaming successful integrated models and practice.
- Workforce: Projects should include a clear focus on developing the necessary skills, behaviours and cultures that will support change and develop effective integrated delivery teams and services. The learning taken from projects developing successful integrated teams should be used to inform and shape mainstream practices.
- Infrastructure: Partners should consider how their wider collective resources such as accommodation, systems, IT infrastructure and equipment can be shared and contribute to the delivery of ICF projects.