Spotlight on: Community Link Workers

An example of strong community support, this case study is one of many included in our latest annual performance report.

During 2020, a daughter who provided caring support for her mum phoned for advice after she had recently moved into sheltered accommodation.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and shielding guidance, the carer was not able to visit her mum and was worried that she was not eating well. Unsure who to turn to, she called her local Community Link Worker for advice.

Three Community Link Workers operate within the Falkirk area; one within each locality. Each Link Worker is hosted by a third sector organisation and are aligned to GP Practices serving populations with highest levels of deprivation. Although the link workers were not able to provide face-to-face services within GP practices during the pandemic, they continued to support people remotely via the phone and internet.

Part of the Forth Valley-wide Primary Care Transformation Programme, the Community Link Workers provide support for wellbeing, economic, and social factors which may be affecting the individual’s quality of life – and in turn, their health. As the link workers are integrated within GP Practices, the model also allows GPs to focus more of their time on medical issues.

Link workers take a ‘holistic’ approach to supporting people, using social prescribing to offer non-medical options to improve people’s health and wellbeing, including their mental health. Social prescribing is an approach used to support self-management.

In this case, the link worker was able to advise on dementia support option;, diet advice; and provide hints and tips to help the carer understand how a dementia diagnosis can effect taste, texture and the motivation or desire to cook and eat a meal.

Working together with the carer and care provider staff within the sheltered accommodation, the link worker helped put in place a food diary which all care staff monitored . This helped care staff and the individual’s family to communicate about food preferences and other useful information.

The carer later contacted the link worker to thank them for the useful support and practical advice. With a procedure in place to monitor her mum’s eating, she felt reassured and a lot less anxious about her care.

More about Link Workers and Social Prescribing

You can contact your local community link worker by getting in touch with your GP.

If you provide support or care for a loved one – whether that be a family member, a friend, or a neighbour, you can access support and advice through the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre.

You can learn more about the concept of Social Prescribing on the Public Health Scotland website.