Personalised approaches to helping people in care

Published: 21 November 2022
Filed under: Health and wellbeing

We’ve spoken to a local resident and the services who support her.

Mrs P, a 90-year-old woman living with dementia, was stuck in a cycle of hospital admissions and discharges. Due to dealing with mental health challenges in the past and sadly losing her husband, Mrs P has become more vulnerable and isolated in recent years.

But she is now living happily at home after an advocate from the Waltham Forest Older Adult Mental Health Team (WF OAMHT) put a personalised plan in place for her, giving her the support she needed.

Mrs P’s advocate said, “Values like promoting equality, dignity and social justice have always been central to social work practice. I feel the circumstances of this lady demonstrate that these are often most effectively advanced when a strong relationship is established between someone needing help and a social worker.”

Stability was difficult, as Mrs P was transferred from hospitals to care homes and back to her own home.

Through the WF OAMHT, an advocate was arranged while Mrs P was in a care home placement earlier this year. It was again determined that Mrs P should return home, but this time, preparatory work was undertaken to ensure she had the best chance of staying at home. This included:

  • Emotional and behavioural support
  • Support to make adaptations and repairs to her home
  • Liaison with her neighbours to prepare community support for her return.

Mrs P has now been at home for nearly six months without any further hospital admissions and reports being very happy. Her carers have a detailed tailored support plan from her favourite meals to exploring her background and memories.

Importantly, the carers have a strong understanding of Mrs P’s mental health and make sure they work flexibly and sensitively with her. Sustaining these important relationships with Mrs P enables her to have much-needed support, improving her quality of life.

The advocate added, “Building trust and rapport and ensuring a client’s views and ambitions are the starting point of any discussions around their care. These create a collaborative working relationship that can lead to positive outcomes. The home carers now helping this lady also embody this approach, and have been hugely important in helping her return to living happily in her own house again.”

This is one example of the work that the WF OAMHT which is part of North East London Foundation Trust does in the community with adults aged over 65. You can find out more about the service on their website.

Cllr Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Adult Services at Waltham Forest Council, said, “We want Waltham Forest residents to stay at home for as long as possible and have the best quality of life as they grow older.

“The team at WF OAMHT are making real differences to people’s lives through thoughtful and personal approaches.”