Care Navigators aim to help patients stay safe and well at home

19th Feb 2015

A new ‘Care Navigators’ scheme is getting off the ground, to help some of West Norfolk’s older people remain safe and well at home.

It is a one-year pilot, put in place by NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group together with three local voluntary organisations, Age UK Norfolk, the British Red Cross and Independence Matters.

Everyone wants to remain independent and well for as long as possible – and that is exactly what the “Care Navigators” will be helping clients to do.

This is a service for people who are referred by their health professional.

There are four Care Navigators out and about in the King’s Lynn, Swaffham, Downham Market and coastal areas. They will be put in touch with patients, usually over the age of 75, who local GPs, nurses and other health professionals feel are most likely to need additional support to remain safe and well at home.

The Care Navigators will then talk with each patient who is referred to them and find out what their needs are - over and above the NHS and adult social care they’re receiving.

Then they will help them find the right information and advice to make life easier.  Very often this will be things like financial or benefits advice, help with shopping, making sure they have the right advice about taking their medicines properly, dealing with loneliness and arranging access to other services.

Very often people will be helped to help themselves – so that they can maintain their independence.

Importantly, the Care Navigators from the British Red Cross, Age UK Norfolk and Independence Matters will be able to draw on expertise and resources from colleagues who are already working in different teams and projects across West Norfolk. 

And they will be able to tap into other local support groups and voluntary organisations which may be available in a patient’s local area.

Dr Sue Crossman from NHS West Norfolk CCG said: “The most important outcome we want to see is that our older citizens can lead more independent, happier lives and are helped to cope well with any health conditions they may have.

“People tell us they want to live longer at home, rather than need to visit hospital or move into a nursing home, and we hope this service helps them to do so.”

The British Red Cross is providing the Care Navigator Service to patients of six GP Practices in the coastal areas of West Norfolk. David Cousins, British Red Cross Care Navigator, said: “I am delighted that in this role I will be able to draw together the three established Red Cross independent living services in West Norfolk; these are the loan of mobility aids, hospital discharge support and the older people’s outreach services. 

“Through this initiative we will be able to open up access so that we can provide vital support to more older people so that they build confidence to live independently at home.”

Age UK Norfolk and Independence Matters are providing the Service to patients of 19 GP Practices in the King’s Lynn, Swaffham and Downham Market areas.

Sally Martin from Age UK Norfolk said: “We are excited to be working in partnership with Independence Matters to provide this new service. The combined experience of the two organisations is ideal for helping people who are referred to the service to get support that they need.”

Alison Holmes from Independence Matters said: “We are thrilled to be able to help patients in West Norfolk to access the support they need to maintain their independence at home and to help them achieve their goals.  We are delighted to be working in partnership with Age UK in this exciting new service and are confident that between us we have a huge level of expertise, experience and local knowledge to bring to the service’

The Care Navigators’ Service is part of NHS West Norfolk CCG’s drive to integrate, or join together, health and social care as much as possible, to ensure people receive services based around their personal needs.