"Since starting in the role of Care Navigator in November 2016, I’m really enjoying getting to know people in their homes and finding ways to help them.
I’m based in two GP practices and they identify patients who are over 65 and need more support at home. By visiting the patients, I spend time learning about how they cope with many aspects of life; I also check their homes for fall risks, give advice on preventing falls, refer to specialist services and help people get to social activities.
Everyone has been very welcoming – the patients, their relatives, the GPs and the GP practices’ staff. With each patient, I’ve been able to give information and access to services that they didn’t know about before."
Catherine’s Care visit
"Mrs Smith welcomes me to her living room, moving with difficulty from her walking frame to her chair. She’s 84 and has recently had a fall. I explain that her GP asked me to talk with her about any support she needs. She tells me about her arthritis and that her friends and family moved away or died. She’s lonely and afraid of falling again. We have a long conversation about how she’s coping; it’s a holistic assessment of her needs, whilst being informal and friendly.
"We talk about reducing her risk of falling and she agrees to my suggestions to replace her slippers, do basic exercises and to ask the practice nurse to check her ears. She’s also happy for me to refer her to the SCH Wellbeing Service for rails in her house, a Safe and Sound personal alarm and an adaptation to make her chair higher. She also tells me she’s been waiting a year for an eye clinic appointment, so I phone the hospital. As I write the appointment date in her calendar, I notice she’s using one from 2016 so I help to find her 2017 calendar.
"Her leg is stiff and painful and she struggles to get into a car, so she agrees to a referral to an NHS physiotherapist who will visit her at home. She’s looking forward to coming with me to a local library’s Knit and Natter group and to the Better Living Centre, once she can comfortably travel.
"I tell her about Adult Social Care, give her a list of domestic and care agencies and the Age UK Home Support leaflet. She says she'll think about these and talk again on my next visit, when we’ll also discuss her pension and benefits. We agree more referrals: to the NHS continence service and to request an Age UK Volunteer Befriender. As I get ready to leave, she mentions a small cut on her leg, and I promise to let her GP know.
She’s surprised and grateful that there’s so much information and support and we look forward to meeting up again next week."