My name is Andrea and I am a ‘Link Worker - Social Prescriber’ at JS Medical Practice and St Ann’s Road Surgery in Tottenham. I have worked in Social Prescribing since 2015 and feel very passionate about the work I do, especially when empowering patients to explore and find the best outcomes in their daily lives.
I work as part of a wider team of amazing Social Prescribers within a multicultural and diverse community. I work in a person-centred way that is a ‘non-medical intervention’, offering advice and support on general physical and mental wellbeing, including day to day need. This could include referring patients to exercise groups, short courses, community groups or meetings, such as coffee mornings, or knitting and cooking groups. Many patients have difficult issues with their housing and benefits, and I am able to sign-post them to specialist supportive services such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Local Area Coordinators and Citizen’s Advice Haringey.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic I have had to adapt my role to the needs of the local community. Many people were shielding, on furlough or lost their jobs, so we had to respond accordingly - working closely with the local council and voluntary and community groups to arrange deliveries of food parcels to those most in need, and referring people to local food banks and soup kitchens, things that made a huge difference to many. We also used Haringey Reach and Connect, as they were able to collect and distribute prescriptions to those shielding, and provide an amazing telephone friendship service to help reduced social isolation. For a Social Prescriber every day is different, but the one thing that never changes is our passion to encourage and empower people to live their lives in the best way they choose, by taking small and positive steps towards what truly matters to them.
Michael has been widowed for over 15 years and in the last couple of years he stopped working due to his health. Six years ago Michael’s friends were concerned about his wellbeing and this led to Police entering his home and breaking down two doors down to do a welfare check, luckily Michael was OK. However, as time went on, he began to feel more isolated and has felt suicidal at times. Fast-forward to now and he still hasn’t had his doors replaced. In our first meeting he was very emotional, was finding it harder and harder to do household chores and was worried about getting in and out of the bath due to a previous fall. He was unable to accept the help of a female friend who offered to stay for a couple of days, due to the missing bedroom doors and lack of privacy.
Following referral to a Social Prescriber at his GP practice, the door repair issue has been escalated with the Haringey Council and he has now in the process of having his doors replaced and has also had much needed adaptions made to the rest of his home to make things easier. This has brought about a feeling of relief. Michael feels safer in his home and can accept support from his friends without worrying about privacy.
I was also able to identify two local community hubs of interest. He will be attending a Reminiscence Café where local residents come together to share their memories of living in the area, and will also be attending a local community music session. Michael has been able to address practical and social issues by taking small steps towards achieving his goals and his life is improving.