Written by Ruth Richardson, BAB Programme Manager.
The Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) programme contains 16 unique but interlinked projects spanning four themes. One theme, 'Identifying and Informing', contains 5 projects aimed at finding those most lonely and isolated in later life, understanding their requirement and aspirations and supporting them to access services and activities to increase their wellbeing.
The specifications for the five Identify and Inform projects are currently being developed and the Invitation to Tenders will be released in September 2016. Some of the projects within this theme are completely new to Bristol, and others are an opportunity to build on and enhance the services that already exist to identify lonely older people and connect them with their communities.
One new project is the First Contact Checklist - a simple series of questions that anyone working with an older person can quickly complete to arrange a referral into services of benefit to an older person, for example, a benefits entitlements check, home fire safety check or information about local activities in their area. From June a pilot First Contact Checklist will be trialled in Bristol, administered by BAB and involving 10 partner agencies. The learning gathered from this trial period will have to inform the specifications for this project which will be commissioned in September.
BAB partners have co-designed a draft First Contact Checklist featuring agencies in Bristol. A list of question topics and the agencies who will receive referrals from the checklist can be downloaded here. The draft questions are currently being reviewed and commented on by older people to ensure that the language used is clear and accessible.
During the trial period, staff and volunteers from 5 organisations will complete an online version of the checklist during their usual visits to older people. Once a form is completed online, it will be sent to the BAB Programme Administrator who is then responsible for forwarding the referral to any agency ticked on the form. The older person completing the form gives their consent for their information to be shared and is left with a postcard with details of the agencies who will make direct contact with them within 3 weeks of the checklist being completed.
Each agency involved in the FCC pilot phase operates a citywide service in Bristol that can be accessed by any older person. First Contact Checklists are a simple and low-cost way of connecting older people to services that can benefit with them. The checklist is not able to refer people to services that do not operate citywide, however in the pilot phase, there is an option for the older person to receive a referral to WellAware who will then make contact to provide details of services and support available in the respondent’s local area. Beyond the pilot phase of this project, a referral will be made to the BAB Community Navigators service (to be commissioned in September 2016), resulting in a visit from a Community Navigator to undertake a more holistic assessment of the older person and provide information about services and support available in their area.
Any BAB partner wishing to comment on the pilot phase of the First Contact Checklist or to propose their organisation for the inclusion on the checklist should contact Ruth Richardson, BAB Programme Manager, by Friday 20th May.
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