Compassionate Communities & Social Care
The Compassionate Communities model is a collaborative approach between G.P. practices and the Information, Advice and Assistance(IAA) team in Adult Social Services in Blaenau Gwent, just one of the initiatives working towards creating a ‘Happier, Healthier Blaenau-Gwent’. A Compassionate Community can include any support network such as family, friends, neighbours, even hairdressers. However, big or small the interaction, we are reminded of our identity and where we fit in the world and even the most ordinary of conversations can enrich someone’s life. This has been the case more so than ever over last few months and simply acting with kindness and compassion towards people in your community can have a tremendous effect on everyone’s health and wellbeing. Our community is special and has a wealth of resources that many of us don’t even realise we have access to. This model aims to identify, highlight and utilise the resources available whether in the local neighbourhood, workplace, educational institution, religious community or sports club.
The model considers how many of us see our GP as the first point of contact when an issue arises, even though this may not always be appropriate. Compassionate Communities aims to empower individuals to look after themselves and those around them by taking control of their health, which will be beneficial now and in the future. This self-management approach can help promote well-being and prevent further health issues from developing. The model focuses on practice staff or link workers from the Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) team conducting in-depth ‘What Matters’ conversations to help really understand and identify the person’s strengths and needs. This wealth of information is then used to signpost the person, their family or carer to the service which best meets their need, whether that be community based, third sector or statutory services. The spectrum of community activities available is vast; dance classes that can help people stay active, coffee mornings that can help people connect and feel less isolated, or libraries that offer support with audio books if you struggle with poor vision. All available with the intention of supporting and promoting health and wellbeing.
The following is an example of how this model works in practice;
A lady in her late 80s was referred to Compassionate Communities by her G.P. The G.P. considered her to be very frail, physically unwell, depressed, tearful and lonely. The link worker carried out some meaningful conversations to get to know this lady and understand what was contributing to her low mood. The lady revealed that reading was her life but since the introduction of the COVID restrictions, no one had been to visit her so she had not had any new e-books added to her kindle. The link worker contacted the local library who agreed to contact the lady – they explained they can deliver books of her choice every week, can also loan her audio equipment and put an app on her kindle to download books directly from the library. The link worker also referred her to local voluntary group and she now receives weekly befriending calls from them. The lady feedback to the link worker that she was so very grateful for the support as she honestly thought that no one cared about her anymore.
Our Link Worker here at Pen-y-Cae is Rachel Barrett and she can be contacted either by telephoning The Information, Advice and Assistance Service(IAA) on 01495 315700 or mobile number 07815 596228.