Social Prescribing in GM – Spotlight On…The Bureau, Glossop
Social prescribing scheme: Community Navigation and PCN Link Worker, provided by The Bureau in Glossop
Our team: Natalie, Janice, Lisa and Bev
What are you most proud of?
We are so proud of how the whole community had adapted through the pandemic. We have taken record breaking numbers of referrals from new clients and been supporting our existing clients over the phone. The whole team work closely with other community groups and local organisations as well as statutory services and the NHS, ensuring that everyone in Glossopdale can access the help and support they need, as and when they need it.
While we thought the inability to make home visits or have office appointments during the COVID-19 crisis would be detrimental to the support we could provide (the lack of picking up on body language and benefits of meeting people in their own home, for example), we have all adjusted to this different way of life surprisingly well.
What is next on your ‘to do’ list?
We have all been amazed at how Glossop really did come together very quickly and work together for the community. People stepped forward to become volunteers, to help with shopping needs, medication prescriptions, delivering food parcels, offering weekly phone calls to lonely isolated people. Links of support grew and as things now begin to return to a new ‘normal’, we will begin to support clients with making those links back into the local community groups and schemes.
What would your ‘top tip’ to a new colleague be?
Without the community investing and developing activity, schemes, support groups, our role would be very difficult, as our core purpose is to help individuals live their life to their full potential with support via the community and services in place. So, we would say, make sure you get to know all that is available locally and do your best to support this.
How is your scheme making a difference to people?
Our role as social prescribers has been important for the community of Glossop and making contact by phone and offering reassurance especially to clients who have been isolating on their own has helped lift their mood and eased their anxiety;
“I feel better just knowing that there are people out there that care,”
“It’s so nice to talk with you,” “You’re like my eyes and ears of the outside world,”
“Thank you for taking the time to give me a ring,” “I don’t feel I’m on my own now”
Can you share a story of the impact you are having on individuals?
Sue was referred by her GP following the diagnosis of breast cancer just a few days before lockdown. She was very shocked and distressed by the diagnosis especially as she had lost her husband to cancer, and this had affected her adult son with Asperger’s syndrome very badly. We were able to talk about her concerns, both practical and emotional. Sue’s family lived away, and she felt very isolated and worried about burdening her mother and friends.
We arranged a meeting with the organiser of the local breast cancer support group, and Sue felt this would be a chance to share her experiences, thoughts and anxieties with others who had faced a similar diagnosis and counselling support for her son was offered by a local hospice if Sue felt this was necessary. Sue welcomes the opportunity to share her experiences and to talk openly, without fear of upsetting or worrying family. She has recognised how resilient she is and now talks more positively about the diagnosis and is looking forward to the end of treatment and moving to the next stage of her life.
And what about the system?
We were supporting John, a gentleman in his eighties who has been self-isolating with a history of poor health and very unstable on his feet. He told us he needed to attend the hospital for a routine COVID-19 test before a procedure could take place but was worried about using public transport. Concerns were raised at the Multi Disciplinary Team meeting and after the Matron’s discussions with the hospital a kit was picked up from the hospital, one of her staff would carry it out and it would be returned via the surgery collections. This individual situation highlighted a wider problem and it was agreed that some kits would be left at the surgeries, in order to support vulnerable self-isolating patients.