Age Concern carer crisis service keeps clients from being a ‘revolving door’ at GP surgeries

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 February 2019

Exmouth Age Concern staff Sara Fowler,Moya McLoughlin,Gill Smith,Jude Oliver, Michaela Sharman and Debbie Bales outside their office on Rolle Street. Ref exe 04 19TI 8683. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth Age Concern staff Sara Fowler,Moya McLoughlin,Gill Smith,Jude Oliver, Michaela Sharman and Debbie Bales outside their office on Rolle Street. Ref exe 04 19TI 8683. Picture: Terry Ife

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Age Concern Exmouth wants to raise awareness of a service aiming at keeping elderly residents from being a ‘revolving door’ at GP practices.

The carer breakdown and crisis service helps those who struggle with the intensity of looking after a loved one with a life-limiting condition.

Those of pensionable age who find themselves in that position are being encouraged to go to Age Concern Exmouth – rather than their GP – who can point them in the right direction.

Chief officer Gill Smith told the Journal that the charity is a ‘social prescriber’, stopping people from making frequent visits to their doctors surgery.

She said: “If you are a 90-year-old man looking after your wife with dementia and think ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to go’ you are going to end up going to the GP.

“It might well be that we need to get them into the social care system as that is the way they need to go, but what we try to do is keep away from the GP practice, keep away from the ambulance and keep them out of hospital. GPs will now refer people to us but if the service isn’t there, there will be no where for them to refer to.”

Staff at the Rolle Street charity can point them towards either Devon Carers or Care Direct for long-term support, but they can also help them ‘immediately’.

“When someone comes in because they are in crisis we support them to take there next step,” said Gill.

“We encourage them to make contact with the relevant authorities but we can help them with their immediate crisis.

“If someone comes in and says they have been looking after their loved one and they are now really struggling and cannot do it anymore, what we can do is immediately see what we can do.”

Age Concern Exmouth also runs a home support service – started four years ago – which pays for the running costs of the charity’s Rolle Street home.

Currently there more than 50 staff working more than 400 hours every week providing care in their clients’ homes.

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