Silverlinks Nottingham Delivered through Age UK Notts has a well-established partnership with Lings Bar Hospital in Nottingham’s Gamston area. Lings Bar is an NHS trust hospital with three rehabilitation and pre-discharge wards for older people who have often had primary treatment in the city’s other hospitals including the Queens Medical Centre and City Hospital.
Lings Bar also provides mental health services.
The Silverlinks co-ordinator accompanied by experienced Silverlinks volunteers conduct a regular bedside “ward round” of the three older persons’ wards.
When Mary Cann, the Silverlinks co-ordinator, took over the role in July 2015 she wanted to make sure that the monthly Silverlinks visits and the format that had been developed for delivery of Silverlinks support was still relevant to patients and their families within the hospital.
To this end Mary addressed a full team meeting of the Lings bar staff. It was established that the Silverlinks visits were still very much valued by staff and patients as well as their families. Staff indicated that though the hospital itself provided a level of support to ensure that patients were discharged to home environments that met their needs there was still a need for peer to peer support from Silverlinks volunteers as well as co-ordinator advice and signposting.
This is because it is important to inpatients and their families that they can access independent empathetic support from Silverlinks peer to peer volunteers who have experienced similar challenges in respect of housing and care needs. These volunteers are proof positive that a happy outcome can be forthcoming even from adverse circumstances and the need to make major life changes in respect of housing and care. Also to benefit from a plethora of potential support via referral and signposting by the co-ordinator to other services both inside and outside Age UK Notts.
For example Silverlinks provides a clear referral pathway to the specialist Housing and Care Options Advisor who has up to date local knowledge and strong local partnerships. These are utilised in the service of finding the best solutions and preventing crises for older people facing change. Clients can also benefit from direct referral to the advisor’s dedicated Lings Bar Age UK Notts Advocate colleague.
The Silverlinks Lings Bar initiative is an example of the excellent standard of service that can be jointly delivered through trusted partner relationships with NHS healthcare professionals. These help empower clients and optimise their independence in order to produce the best possible outcomes and in turn assist the reduction of re escalation of needs after discharge which can so often lead to avoidable re-admissions.