As the New Care Models Programme marks its first anniversary, the Commissioning Redesign Manager for Long Term Conditions at the NHS Solihull CCG, outlines the vital work its vanguard is doing:
The Solihull Together for Better Lives vanguard is committed to supporting people to stay independent and out of hospital.
As part of this commitment, local health and social care partners have implemented the integrated care and support in Solihull (ICASS) programme to improve care for frail, older people.
Falls prevention is an important element of the programme and this work truly does support better lives.
Our falls ‘pathway’ sees a wide range of partners working together for the benefit of local people, including our secondary and community health care providers, community housing, social care and voluntary organisations.
The pathway includes a 20-week postural stability programme run by Solihull Age UK for people aged 65 and over who have been referred after a fall.
While the programme is led by Age UK, they work in partnership with Solihull Hospital and the local community services including GPs. Participants are assessed before and after the programme and can be referred for further support and other community classes in the area if required, so that they can continue to improve their mobility.
The postural stability course is designed to increase their muscle tone and balance to help prevent future falls, and provide them with strategies to enable them to get up from the floor if they do fall.
More holistically, we’re also looking to reduce social isolation, depression and immobility. Many people are initially very fearful of having another fall, but their confidence builds over a couple of weeks on the programme.
Feedback has been very rewarding, with people saying things like: “I feel more confident and my family and friends have seen an improvement in my walking”; “The classes made me more conscious of what I can actually do”; “The exercise did me good and I intend to carry on” and “the sessions when we were shown how to recover from a fall were extremely helpful. In fact when I fell one night I could almost hear Shelagh’s instructions, so I was able to get up.”
What has surprised me the most is just how many falls we have locally and nationally and the tremendous difference these preventative services make in increasing people’s confidence.
I have very much enjoyed working with partners on developing this pathway, and we regularly review services to highlight areas for improvement, develop new ways of working and create a platform where new ideas can be shared.
Staff also feel energised and are suggesting innovative ways the services can be improved further. With an integrated pathway, it is important that services come together to generate this constant innovation and improvement as the pathway develops.
While it can be difficult when working across different organisations and agencies to ensure everyone knows how each service impacts and supports another across the pathway, becoming a vanguard has really supported our partnership working.
Bernie has held this role since 2013, leading on diabetes, respiratory conditions and heart failure as well as podiatry and stroke.
Previously she has managed NHS transformation projects and co-ordinated telecare services. Bernie joined the NHS eight years ago following a career in the private and voluntary sectors which included working as Area Manager for Age Concern Birmingham.
She has a degree in Psychology, with a focus on older adults, and has recently completed her Masters in Healthcare Commissioning.