The Family Mosaic Care Navigator service in Kent is expanding following its initial success.

The service offers a free, impartial service aimed at people over the age of 50, helping them access the right support to help remain independent and active. It can help with finding useful services in the community, arrange adaptations to people’s homes, help with housing and welfare benefit information and improve people’s sense of well-being.

The service was initially commissioned in April 2013 by Kent County Council its original three staff members, covering Shepway, Dover and Thanet, receive nearly 2000 referrals every year.

NHS South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has seen the value that this service brings and has commissioned a pilot service with two additional posts, one working alongside the Deal GP surgeries and a second post funded to cover community based activity across Shepway and Dover.

Demand remains high, especially as the CCG have asked the Care navigators to be more closely linked to GP surgeries to pick up customers at an earlier stage. People often speak to their GP about issues not directly related to their health and the aim is that these, more social needs, can be picked up earlier to avoid them having a greater impact.

With the strain that health services are currently under, being able to provide the right support to people where and when they need it reduces the demand on GPs time, helping them to focus on clinical issues, knowing their patients are getting the right help.

Donna Crozier, operations manager for Family Mosaic, explains how the service recently helped an 80 year old woman who was living in very difficult circumstances; “She was in a physically and verbally abusive relationship, along with having some serious health conditions. Before our service got involved, she was constantly in fear of any confrontation with her husband. Our staff did an enormous amount of work to help her get a place on the housing register, link in with the safeguarding team at social services and finally managed to help her move into her own sheltered housing flat.

She left with only the clothes on her back, so staff helped her find furniture and white goods along with sorting out her pension credit so she had enough money to live on. She’s now a completely changed person and feels safe and happy. She told us that we saved her life and without our help would probably have given up.

Every client helped is a success, from the simplest of requests to the much more involved cases. Services like these, working alongside the NHS, can make a real difference to people being able to manage safely and independently at home for as long as possible.”

Dr Jonathan Bryant, chair of NHS South Kent Coast CCG, said: “We are pleased to support a service that is helping to achieve our top priorities of bringing care closer to local communities and helping people to stay healthy, independent and active and avoid illness.”

For more information about this service, please contact: eastkenthia@familymosaic.co.uk