Patient Education and Support & Advice Hubs

Support and Advice Hubs...

We have established Support & Advice Hubs at each of our sites as a point of access to primary care to ensure patients are aware of the choice of services available to them, including self care. 

Our hubs are supported by Patient Advisers who specially are trained to provide local advice on navigating the health and social care services available to them, as well as giving them basic  advice on health and wellbeing queries. 

Alongside this primary function, our hubs also host drop in and group sessions as part of our patient education agenda.  These groups are free for our patients to book onto and include: 

Tea and talk sessions
Yoga classes
Dancing and Art lessons 
Workshops on managing diabetes 
Women’s health sessions
Men’s health sessions
Carer workshops 
Healthy Lifestyles

Developing our Patient Education agenda...

Our patient education agenda has been developed to promote:

  • Use of technology to support our patients in accessing the right support and care at the right time
  • Using technology to support the management and education around self-care for minor illness and long term conditions
  • How we increase patient satisfaction through effectively providing support and information at the point of need
  • Eliminating barriers and silo working across the tiers of healthcare systems, integrating community groups and services to support whole patient wellbeing – providing co-provision and patient first care through a multi-dimensional culture of health and wellbeing
  • Assisting our patients in accessing support from peers and expert patients to provide experiences and local resilience and support to managing healthcare in communities.  

Our agenda has been developed from our first hand visits in Boston, America.  Understanding the issues that they faced in meeting the patient needs, alongside how to maintain and manage patient care from home.

This has been supplemented by localised self care agendas, and national guidance from the Department of Health around self care and choose well promotions.

Our patient education agenda is based on a real understanding of health issues, issues that are detrimental to health and using our primary care knowledge base, our staff and our volunteers to support patient understanding.

Becoming a Patient Adviser...

Our Patient Advisers are there to support our patient education agenda by acting as the primary contact in our Support & Advice hubs. We recruit a range of volunteers from the community, some who have an interest in developing skills in health and social care setting, and some who just want to give their time to help others, and provide them with specialist training and support to become a Patient Adviser.  

We are committed to making sure our Patient Advisers are a fully integrated member of each of our teams. To facilitate this, Patient Advisers have full access to our Group intranet to allow them to see what is going on across our family, and full access to our e-learning platform which holds all of our statutory mandatory training modules giving them all the training they need to help us deliver patient first, high quality care.

If you want to find out more about becoming a Patient Adviser why not get in touch via our contact us form, and one of our engagement team will arrange to call you and have an informal chat about the role and what you want to achieve from it.

Potential volunteers are asked to complete an application form and are subject to DBS checks prior to an informal interview and local induction. 

Supporting access to Digital Health...

We continually search for innovative ways in which we can improve the services that we offer and we are keen to explore advances in technology that can make our services even more accessible to our patients around the clock. We promote equal access to all of our services through a range of automated and on-line systems including: 

On-line appointment booking and cancellation
Access to repeat prescriptions on-line
A web-based symptom checker which directs patients to the right service for their need
A text messaging service for appointment reminders, cancellations and patient feedback
A 24 hour automated appointment telephone booking system 
Clinical triage tools dedicated to ensuring patients are seen by the Right clinician in the order of clinical priority

We implement these systems to make it easier for patients to access care but we do appreciate that not all of our patients are entirely comfortable in using new technology. That's why we have started running free of charge sessions at our Support & Advice hubs for patients looking for help in how to access and use automated and on-line health and social care systems. To find out more about these sessions why not get in touch with a member of the team?

Patient Education in Action...

Our Support & Advice hubs are an important part of the services that we provide as they allow us to take a holistic, whole person approach to care, focussing, not just on patient's symptoms but on any underlying causes as well. There are any number of issues which could see an increase in patient contacts with their GP from mis-management of medication, financial issues, unhealthy lifestyle choices exacerbating a long standing illness or social isolation. The benefit of having on-site access to support and advice for patients is that we can assess all lifestyles and external factors affecting health and address those in conjunction with other treatments.

As part of our service from our Support & Advice Hubs we offer access to drop in and group sessions with community groups, expert patients and peers to develop local resilience and support networks. Here's a couple of examples of the kind of sessions we've held recently.

Case Study | Carers Leeds 
We hosted drop in sessions with Carers Leeds at The Light Surgery.  This session was to promote the awareness of the definition of being a carer, and the local support that is available to individuals who are fulfilling a caring role. 

Case Study | Healthy Lifestyles 
At The Light we are holding regular drop in sessions to support our patients in wanting to make a change in their lifestyle.  Initially these sessions are face to face, but will eventually move onto a digital platform to allow the development of peer to peer networks, supporting each other throughout the year.

Case Study  | Voluntary and Community Sector
The Sheffield Support & Advice Hub has formed a positive relationship with ShipShape, a local well-being service offering advice and activities to bring positive health support to local residents across Sheffield.  Working collaboratively, OneMedicalGroup and ShipShape’s trained advisers are delivering outreach sessions in the community providing a range of different interventions. This includes free health checks and raising awareness of NHS supported campaigns such as Bowel Cancer Awareness Week, Jo’s Trust Cervical Screening Campaign, and the work of Wellbeing of Women, a charity dedicated to improving the health of women and babies. In many cases patients ask for the treatment they think will work. For example, a patient who has visited the centre with a sore throat traditionally would have expected antibiotics. By working in partnership with a Patient Adviser they can look at the step by step approach to self-care and alternatives to medical intervention. 
Collaborative working has enabled the volunteers from ShipShape to gain additional skills working with the reception team including mandatory training such as confidentiality. They also gain a better understanding of how NHS services work enabling them to act as ambassadors for positive choice when they work within ShipShape’s own Health & Wellbeing Centre.

Case Study | Engaging public sector services
At our Bracknell Support & Advice Hub our lead Patient Adviser has developed strong relationships with the local Ambulance Service, Fire Brigade and A&E departments to deliver ‘tea and talk’ sessions. Held on a monthly basis, the sessions are open to the public and last an hour. They provide advice and practical examples on how patients can take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing such as how to use ambulance services appropriately and the steps they can take to improve their self-care. Being located in an urgent care setting can have positive and negative impacts. As patients might only visit the centre once it is important to make a big impact quickly. The Support & Advice Hub is located in the waiting area and so is in direct view of patients. This makes the centre as accessible as possible and enables the patients to use it whilst they are waiting to be seen.
It is also heavily used by clinicians through the introduction of social prescribing whereby patients who attend inappropriately are referred for further education on how to use NHS services.