Bringing health and social care professionals together has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of people facing complex and ingrained problems.
Integrated health and social care is at the heart of Greater Manchester’s health and social care devolution and allows professionals from both disciplines to make a real difference by working closely alongside each other.
The experience of one Salford resident illustrates how collaboration between health and social care professional can both help people retain their independence and reduce their impact on public services.
Graham, in his early 70s, from Salford, spent time in the Merchant Navy and as a long-distance lorry driver. Over the last few years, Graham’s drinking has led to frequent falls, risk of a fire at home and a number of ambulance call-outs and stays in hospital. When his drinking gets bad, Graham does not look after himself or his home properly and his landlord, the police, fire service and health service have all been worried about him.
After his last fall, Graham reported that he was in a lot of pain and unable to walk easily. A social worker asked Graham about support to help him – rehabilitation, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. He was suspicious of his GP and social services and did not want anything to do with them.
The social worker spent time talking to Graham, pointing out that was he was putting himself at risk in a number of ways, including the possibility of eviction.
The social worker spoke to the GP and nurses at a multi-disciplinary group meeting and continued to work with Graham and an alcohol behavioural specialist. The social worker also got to know Graham’s neighbour who helps him out with bits of shopping.
Over time, Graham started to trust the social worker and recognise that he could benefit from some help. The social worker explained to Graham that the priority needed to be a thorough clean of his home. He agreed to save up for this ‘deep clean’. The social worker persuaded the landlord and others to take away the immediate threat of eviction and to give Graham the support he would accept. Graham saved £10 a week to help pay for the cleaning of his home and kept in regular contact with the social worker to see how close he was to reaching his savings target.
Graham said, “My health wasn’t too good and I used to have hospital appointments all the time. My mate Paul helps me out and I’m eating better now. The deep clean helped and I don’t want to go back to how it was. My mate helps me to keep my home tidy and I can cook now. I’m a brilliant cook – my favourite is Sunday dinner with mash.”
Since having his home cleaned, Graham has agreed to weekly support to help him to keep on top of it. He’s looking after himself much better, has not fallen and has not called an ambulance, or been admitted to hospital for some time.