Social isolation reduced through care navigation

Rachel and Claire with patients in their home 2

Care navigation is now being piloted in Southwark GP Federations. The aim is to support GP practices to reduce social isolation and manage the social needs of their older patients.

Care navigators from Age UK Lewisham and Southwark are helping identify appropriate support networks and community groups to help them remain as independent and well supported as possible.

Rachel Henry, SAIL Care Navigation Team Leader at Age UK Lewisham and Southwark, explains how they helped Mary, 67 years old: “Mary was referred to us by her GP, as she had been frequently visiting the GP practice for about a year. She would often be waiting outside the practice for it to open in the morning. The receptionists would have a chat with her and make her a cup of tea.

“A member of our team went to meet Mary at home. The care navigator found out that Mary’s mother had died a year ago and she had felt very lonely since then. They also talked about what Mary would like to do to get out of the house more and make new friends. Mary was interested in trying out an arts and crafts group, so we went along to a centre together the next day.

“Mary really enjoyed it and wants to go back regularly as she can see herself making friends there. She has not been dropping into the surgery since she started to go to the centre. Her GP has said ‘attending the centre has made a big difference to her quality of life. She no longer feels it necessary to engage with counselling – she says she has recently been enjoying life’.”

There are 12 GP practices in Southwark taking part in care navigation.