This week has seen the launch of our new “admissions avoidance” pilot project, now called Gateway Healthy Futures.
As we explained in August in our blog post A New Avenue For Gateway, the new project is part of part of My Healthcare and it will tackle the thorny issue of patients repeatedly seeing their GP or going to A&E with issues that could be much better managed using social interventions – for example people who have social issues, or who are mismanaging long term conditions.
Gateway Healthy Futures takes two approaches, both of which have already been proven to work as part of Gateway’s current services:
1) Providing paraprofessional support for those with intensive needs and
2) Providing befriender support for those with lower level needs.
The paraprofessionals that will be working within the Healthy Futures service are known as Practice Navigators. Michelle Bluck, EAST Programme Manager, explains: “Gateway Healthy Futures Practice Navigators are similar to our established paraprofessional roles, like Health Trainers and Pregnancy Outreach Workers (POWs). It will be about them understanding what additional support needs to be put in place around the individual and knowing what is available locally that can be drawn in to plug the gaps. It wont just be about signposting though, it will be about practically ensuring they’re accessing the help they need. Like the other roles, they will be able to offer people personalised social support; helping them to navigate systems, registering them for new groups or sessions, or going with them to appointments.”
Meet the team
We now have four Practice Navigators in place, ready to work with patients:
Arlene comes to Gateway Healthy Futures from her role as a Gateway Volunteer Befriender – in fact you may remember her from a previous Friday story, Celebrating Our Befrienders, where we talked about her relationship with her client Jean.
Judith has been with Gateway for some time, too; she started as a Volunteer Befriender, moving on to become a Gateway Interpreter, and later trained in a healthcare role under our Training To Care programme, working with patients at a specialist stroke and brain injury rehabilitation centre.
Lindsey has been a Gateway POW for eight years, having started on the Community Family Workers course with Gateway in 2006.
Chere is new to Gateway but comes to us with a BA Hons in Social Policy and Social Care, as well as experience in working with people with dementia and their carers.
Our volunteers are overseen by a new EAST Co-ordinator, Angela, who also comes to Gateway Healthy Futures from the POW service. Like Lindsey, Angela started with Gateway on the Community Family Workers course in 2006.
EAST Programme Manager Michelle Bluck, who will be overseeing the Practice Navigators, has been with Gateway since its inception. She was instrumental in setting up the POW service and since then has run a number of programmes including setting up and running the Interpreters service and Training To Care.
All have been undergoing intensive training over the last few weeks and are raring to go. Their combined experience, buoyed by extra training, and with the backing of Gateway’s many years of experience providing high level one-to-one social support, puts them in the best possible place to help.
For phase one of the project, the Gateway Healthy Futures team will be working with the following surgeries:
Frankley Health Centre
West Heath Surgery
Wychall Lane Surgery
Cofton Medical Centre
West Heath Primary Care Centre
Kings Norton Surgery
Woodland Road Surgery
Patients must be referred by their GP to access the service.