Meet Mr Johnson
Mr Johnson* is 83 years old and lives with his two pet birds, on the top floor of a block of flats in Croydon. He likes taking walks and shopping in the local area. Last year whilst out and about he had a fall which made him lose mobility in one of his arms and hands.
Mr Johnson’s injury resulted in him struggling to maintain his home, personal care and his medication for asthma. Mr Johnson felt overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.
Changes to health circumstances can be stressful and can often create uncertainty. People may not know what support is available or who to turn to for support. In partnership with Age UK Croydon, our Personal Independence Coordinators Service (PICS) provides care-co-ordination, emotional support, and advocacy for people over 50 in the community.
Since launching in 2017, PICS has supported 3000 Croydon clients with multiple long-term conditions and often age-related disabilities to develop and fulfil personal recovery plans and support them to access local support.
How the Personal Independence Coordinators Service works
PICs take referrals from health professionals and the wider community to undertake a home visit with clients to assess their individual circumstances. Through this initial assessment, PICs help clients to identify goals and co-ordinate support services to improve their quality of life.
Supporting clients closely for up to four months in the community, PICs build strong relationships with their clients by offering informal emotional support, especially to those who are more isolated. The key to the service is a holistic approach which takes account of the clients preferences, thoughts and feelings, rather than just offering a set of interventions or treatments.
This combination of emotional support, alongside practical support to solve personal challenges, is key to getting clients back on their feet and feeling better. Working with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social care workers, voluntary and community sector colleagues to co-ordinate health and social care, services are also co-ordinated to improve physical and mental wellbeing and build personal independence.
Making a positive impact for Mr Johnson
Personal Independence Coordinator, Sarah* completed a joint visit with a community pharmacist and a cleaning agency to support Mr Johnson’s immediate wellbeing needs. The pharmacist helped to assess his medication and his ability to use his inhaler and the cleaning agency cleaned his flat to create a safe and clean space.
Sarah was then able to engage with the council to fix Mr Johnson’s broken shower and apply for a personal care welfare allowance – which he now receives. This allowance helps Mr Johnson to pay for a carer who visits him once a week to help with housekeeping and personal care. To improve Mr Johnson’s mobility, Sarah signposted him to a physiotherapist near his home for additional support.
During his ongoing engagement with the PICS, Mr Johnson raised some minor concerns about his memory, so Sarah liaised with the local Memory Clinic for advice. They’re now working with Mr Johnson and helping him to get the best support he needs.
The service was definitely up to scratch! I felt low at times when I couldn’t move like I used to, and I knew I needed some help to get things sorted. The support staff supported me with what I needed at the time, and I feel a lot more independent now.”Mr Johnson
The PICS has enabled Mr Johnson to not only recover physically but feel more secure emotionally and mentally.
This one-to-one community care has helped him access paid for care services to support his personal needs, confidence to manage his medications independently and created awareness with local care services to make sure he’s cared for.
Reading about Mr Johnson’s experience of the PIC Service is both humbling and heart-warming. We’ve seen that the service achieves great results for many people across Croydon. But when you read about the person behind the data and the interventions from PICs (and our health and voluntary sector partners) that really make the difference, it feels inspiring.”Susan Underhill, Age UK Croydon Programmes Director
If you’d like to find out more about the Personal Independence Coordinators Service, or refer someone you feel would benefit, visit Age UK Croydon.
*Names have been changed to maintain client confidentiality.