THOUSANDS of pounds could be ploughed into helping people with disabilities return home from hospital, after delays cost the Royal Berkshire Hospital almost £100,000 last year.

Reading Borough Council will discuss the proposal for new grants this week to enable people with disabilities to live in suitable accommodation.

One of the main aims of the policy is to reduce delayed discharges from hospital, which cost Royal Berkshire Hospital £96,000 last year.

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The policy update includes a new £30,000 discretionary top-up grant to help provide disabled facilities.

RBC will also introduce two new grants of up to £5,000 per person for adaptations and temporary accommodation during works.

The grants are funded by the government through the Better Care Fund.

The policy, which will go to consultation, also aims to prevent falls, reduce hospital admissions, and avoid the need for people to move into care homes.

£30,000 top up for adaptations

Currently all councils must provide up to £30,000 for disabled people to make changes to their homes widening doors or installing stairlifts.

The report to the council’s HNL committee says works often costs between £45,000 and £60,000.

The council is now planning to add a discretionary grant which will allow for an additional £30,000 to plug the shortfall.

Two new grants worth up to £5,000

A new ‘Health and Wellbeing at Home’ grant would provide up to £5,000 for stairlifts, ramps, deep cleans, de-cluttering, and repair or replacement of boilers.

One of the grant’s aims is to make properties suitable following hospital discharges.

Delayed discharges from hospital cost Royal Berkshire Hospital £96,000 last year.

Another new grant will provide funds for temporary accommodation when a tenant is unable to remain in their property during adaptation works.

Help to relocate for private renters

An existing relocation grant which helps disabled people to move to accommodation with more appropriate facilities, will be extended to those renting privately.

The grant is already available – for up to £10,000 – to those who own their properties

Renters would get up to £5,000 to help them to move.

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And finally

The council will also offer additional funding for architects to draw up plans for extensive adaptations or for engineers to check properties where there are concerns over the structure.

Currently this work must be paid for before a grant is approved and this can lead to adaptations not going ahead if families cannot afford the professional fees.

The new policy will be discussed at the council’s Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure (HNL) committee on Wednesday, November 6.