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Preventive care programme for older people launched in Buckinghamshire

4th September 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Buckinghamshire County Council has used some of the money set aside by the NHS for social care to create ‘Prevention Matters’, a programme that aims to help older people with disabilities and mobility difficulties stay independent and out of hospital. 

As reported in this article from The Guardian, the programme aims to provide preventative health and social care to older people in England using referrals from GP surgeries.

In short, this care is delivered by developing a support plan for each patient and putting this plan into action, whether this involves getting an independent living aid such as an easy access shower installed or completing a weekly shop. The programme was launched by Buckinghamshire County Council in July and has pooled together the resources from the health service, the county council, the district councils and the voluntary sector. Together they are aiming to establish a "joined-up approach" to provide care that works directly with clients.

According to the article in The Guardian, those who organise care in the community and allocate healthcare budgets are finally leaning towards the idea that "prevention is better than cure", helping people with existing mobility difficulties or health problems avoid "crisis situations" that lead on to diminishing independence and lower quality of life. The 'Prevention Matters' programme is just one of the schemes that one county council is implementing to help prevent health and social problems from becoming critical, and its success could lead to other county councils establishing preventative health and social care programmes of their own.

The implementation of the 'Prevention Matters' programme begins with a referral from GP surgeries. A network of community workers registered and managed through specialist voluntary organisations then go on to work directly with these people who are most likely to benefit from preventive care. The needs of each client are assessed, a support plan is developed and then these volunteers help the client to put these plans into action. Whilst this is going on, community link officers who are employed by the council will work towards enhancing or establishing services within the community that could do better to support the older people who have been referred by GPs, and a central "intelligence hub" will bring together all this information to ensure that each individual benefits from joined-up care.

Social isolation has reportedly been the reason behind almost half of all referrals to the 'Prevention Matters' programme, and volunteers involved with the programme are sure to be helping these people find safe ways of engaging with others in the community, whether this is through the installation of outdoor home stairlifts or through the organisation of a regular community event where people can socialise with others.

Image Credit: _Ricky (flickr.com)