Increasing Numbers Call Alfy Line For Health Advice

Hundreds of people in Forth Valley have contacted a local health advice line for help and support over the last few months.  ALFY (Advice Line for You) is operated by experienced community nurses and was established to help people aged over 65 to remain well at home and reduce avoidable hospital admissions. Latest figures show that in a three-month period from June to August, more than 200 calls were received from older people and their families seeking advice on a wide range of issues.

These included requests for mobile equipment, information on how to access crisis and respite care, contact details for local district nursing services, requests for befriending and help for people recently discharged from hospital who felt they are not coping.

Staff providing the service can also signpost callers to relevant emergency social work, voluntary or local community based services.  They are also able to book appointments to attend a rapid access frailty clinic for a specialist review or arrange for a community nurse to visit a person’s home. Alongside ALFY, people are encouraged to develop a personal care plan known as Your Plan and share this with their family and those people closest to them as well as health and care professionals.

Fiona Gordon, NHS Forth Valley Service Manager for Specialist Community Services, said:  “Many people simply don’t know where to turn to for help. We recently had a phone call from a lady who had no-one to talk to and was having a difficult time. Although she had family she found it hard to talk to her sons. She apologised for calling but really appreciated having someone who was able listen to her. We were able to follow this up with a visit to make sure she was coping on her own.”

ALFY was developed by NHS Forth Valley and its three council partners following feedback which highlighted that, wherever possible, older people prefer to stay in their own homes.  It is estimated it could benefit around 54,000 older people in the Forth Valley area as well as friends, family members and other people who care for them.

NHS Forth Valley has also written to around 3,800 older people across the area who they think could particularly benefit from calling ALFY. In addition, the team are promoting the service through information sessions at the front door of Forth Valley Royal Hospital and at flu clinics. ALFY can be contacted 24 hours a day on 01324 567247 and more information on the service is available on the NHS Forth Valley website www.nhsforthvalley.com/alfy