Social Prescribing - helping people take control of their health and well-being

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Eighty-four-year-old Mary had lost her husband within the preceding two years. Her daughter lives close by but her mother is increasingly frail.

Though independent, everyday tasks were clearly becoming more difficult, even to the extent of having trouble negotiating her front doorstep. Her home has a few adaptations but these were installed for the benefit of her late husband. Mary needed support to access the right services.

An urgent referral was made to Careline for a personal alarm, along with care and repair of handrails at Mary’s doorway, an application for attendance allowance and a Disabled Blue Badge.

Once the Careline wrist-worn alarm was installed Mary could feel safe and secure knowing that help was at hand with the press of a button, and that people could access the property via the key safe o the outside of the building. In the early hours of one Sunday morning, just two weeks after the alarm was fitted, Mary felt unwell and pushed the button. Her daughter was called and an ambulance summoned. Mary was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke.

The impact of the Careline alarm was paramount in enabling Mary’s daughter to get to her Mum really quickly in an emergency – which this certainly was. Without the alarm facility, Mary could well have been lying on the floor in her bedroom for four or five hours before her daughter would have arrived on a regular visit. The fact is the Careline alarm saved Mary’s life – the family might well have been planning a funeral instead of watching over Mum’s recovery in hospital.

The Living Well Connector who worked with Mary to determine her needs said “It’s not just about visiting and assessing to make life easier for the client; it can indeed be life-changing. Mary’s daughter rang to thank me for my swift help in arranging the Careline alarm so quickly, and that because of this piece of work she and her sister still have their Mum, when it could have been so different.”

CAN co-ordinates social prescribing in the West Norfolk and Breckland areas, working with over twenty GP practices and partner organisations including Age UK Norfolk, Family Action Swaffham, Future Projects, Home Group Ltd., The Matthew Project, West Norfolk Carers and West Norfolk Mind.