Community Clinics: a new and innovative approach to caring for people with non-healing wounds

20 Jul 2017

Bristol Community Health and Age UK Bristol are currently working on a new and innovative approach to caring for people with non-healing wounds.

The Community Clinic project, part of our GP Case Funding stream of funding, is a collaboration between Bristol Community Health and Age UK Bristol, providing a relaxed space where regular patients of 6 GP practices can have their wounds healed and dressings changed by skilled clinicians while enjoying a cup of tea and a chat.

The aim of GP Case Funding is to identify older people who could be isolated and lonely, through working with primary care providers and connect them with social activities and services to reduce their isolation.

The Community Clinic also forms part of a new healthcare model which has just launched in the southwest of the city, which promotes the principle of patients receiving upfront care from a team of mixed clinical professionals, rather than having to go to their GP first for assessment. The aim is to support patients to access faster appointments and free up GP capacity so they can focus on patients with the most complex healthcare needs.

On Saturday 8th July, David Pugh, Operations Manager at Bristol Community Health, Val Helliar, Bristol Community Health Clinical Lead, Mark Baker, CEO of Age UK Bristol (AUKB), Shamim Baloo, AUKB Project Co-ordinator, and regular patient and former nurse, Shirley Bruce, joined Dr Phil Hammond’s show on his show on BBC Radio Bristol to talk about the project.

Shirley spoke about her own experience dealing with ulcers, and how the project has not only provided her with the care she needs to heal the wounds, but provides a welcoming relaxing space.

Regarding this innovative approach, which works on the medical as well as the social and emotional level, Clinical Lead, Val Helliar, shared with Dr Phil Hammond: “It’s about treating the patient holistically and listening to what they are saying. (…) A lot of the patients have said that they realise that they’re not alone in this. Until they’ve come to the clinic, and seen other people, they don’t realise that actually, it’s more common than they think.”

The Community Clinics run every Thursday at the Withywood Centre in Bishopsworth. Age UK Bristol co-ordinates the non-medical side of the project, looking at ways of making the sessions welcoming and encouraging social interaction among the participants, through the involvement of volunteers.

 “The Withywood Centre is a fantastic community centre, it has got lots of different activities and a community café. It’s nice to see people coming into the clinics and then going off and having a cup of tea at the café”, said Shamim Baloo, referring to the impact of providing a space that encourages people to talk to each other and socialise.

You can listen to the full radio interview here: 

Age UK Bristol will also be inviting other local organisations to share information about services available to the participants, making the sessions not only friendly and effective in terms of their care needs, but also raising awareness of other projects and activities that they can get involved.

Mark Baker, CEO of Age UK Bristol, highlighted the collaborative approach of the Community Clinics: “Projects like this give us confidence that we can actually collaborate and co-produce together.”

The service is open to direct referrals from the 6 participating GP practices collaborating with this project, and linked district nurses. For more information about accessing the service, please contact Bristol Community Health (www.briscomhealth.org.uk) by calling 0117 900 2600.

If you are interested in volunteering as part of this new and exciting project, contact Shamim Baloo on 0117 929 7537, or visit the Age UK Bristol website www.ageukbristol.org.uk.


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