This page is a printable version of: https://www.iow.nhs.uk/about-us/Partnership-working/my-life-a-full-life.htm
Date: 19 September 2021
On the Isle of Wight, a new way of working across health and social care is underway. The My Life A Full Life programme is a collaboration between the newly established Clinical Commissioning Group, IWNHS Trust and the Isle of Wight Council. The new initiative will work in partnership with local people, voluntary organisations and the private sector to deliver a more co-ordinated approach to the delivery of health and social care services for older people and people with long term conditions on the Island. As the programme develops it will also consider other areas of delivery which could benefit from this approach to improve individuals’ experience of health and social care support and services on the Island.
Why are things changing?
Nearly a quarter of all residents are aged 65 and over, a much higher figure in comparison to the South East (at 18 per cent), and a figure which looks set to rise significantly in the future. With the growth in these figures, and people living longer often with long term health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular problems etc, it is inevitable that the need for health and social care services will also increase and GPs, hospitals, social care services and voluntary and community groups will find themselves under increasing pressure to meet the demand for their services.
While spending on these services has been increasing over time on the Island, it is a trend which most organisations will find hard to sustain in the future and all recognise that something radical needs to be done to ensure the services will be there for those who need them, both now and in the future.
A whole community solution
The answer it seems is a relatively simple one and one that is already showing signs of working well in the areas where it has been piloted. Changing the face of health and social care on the Island
Working closer together in the local area
Organisations working together around the patient/client to provide a seamless approach to care in a local area, rather than separately delivered services, driven by what the organisation provides, rather than what the individual actually needs.
Helping people to care for themselves
Work to help patients/clients manage their own day-to-day health conditions and care needs, where they are able to do so, by providing the right equipment, advice and access to information – such as their own medical information – and finding different ways of communicating with GPs and other health professionals.
Dealing with crises and getting people back on their feet quickly
When people do encounter a crisis, ensuring all relevant agencies come together to tackle the problem and resolve it, so that people can get back to living as full a life as possible.
Helping people to live life to the full
We all need to keep fit and healthy, keeping active, being part of your local community and experiencing positive relationships with our friends, family and people who support us. These are key elements to living our lives to the full and this new way of working will promote this.
However, for some people this is more difficult and because of age and/or disabilities, many people living with long-term conditions are in touch with multiple organisations. This is frustrating for many people, often re-telling their story over and over again.
With organisations working more closely together in the community (sometimes sharing locations, sharing information, improving communications and taking a ‘whole view’ of a person’s needs) people will no longer have to meet with different agencies and will only have to explain their ‘story’ once. Support and services will coordinate around the person, their family and carers.
It will no longer matter who that person talks to – whether it’s a GP, health professional, a social care worker, a volunteer – they will be able to help them or know who to contact to provide the right support.
By taking this community-led approach it is hoped that many more people will be prevented from having to spend long periods of time in hospital enabling them instead to find ways of remaining in their own home if they want to and tapping into support in the area where they live.
It will also mean families and carers have access to more information, advice and support and can help their loved ones make choices about the care they receive and most importantly how they can live their life to the full and in the way they choose to do so. It will also mean that care and support is provided closer to home, so people can stay at home with the appropriate support they require if, for example, they become ill with an infection.
When will it start?
It’s already started! There are lots of examples of organisations coming together to deliver care differently on the Island.
One such example is the Emergency Hub – which has brought together professionals from the ambulance service, A&E, Wightcare Alarms, mental health and community services to simplify access to emergency care. Previously a call to 999 or 111 might have involved the separate dispatch of an ambulance, a social care or mental health worker and potentially a medical advisor to deal with different aspects of the emergency. By working together behind the scenes, at the first point of call, the right decisions can be made about what support and/or services are needed to reduce frustration and anxiety for those patients and their families involved. This will ensure the right responses are deployed and at the same time avoiding unnecessary duplication and costs.
In another example, volunteers and health and social care staff have got together to set up an Alzheimer’s café on the Island to help those living with Alzheimer's. It also enables families or carers to help them manage their condition and at the same time enjoy a chance to meet socially with others.
The Independent Living Centre, where people have access to a wide range of equipment and advice from an occupational therapist in order to assess their mobility needs and try and test equipment. Café Clinics are also operating for people with long term conditions and their careers, where people have access to a range of health professionals who can monitor their health conditions and provide advice and support for people attending.
Mental health services and the police are working together to support people with mental health issues, who may be experiencing an exacerbation in their condition out of hours and at weekends.
There are many more examples emerging and as the programme develops, these examples will become more common across the Island.