New Advice Line For Older People Launched in Forth Valley

A new health and social care advice line, which has been successfully piloted in the Bo’ness area, will be rolled out across Forth Valley from 1st Dec 2015 to help older people remain well at home.

This new service has been 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.

The dedicated 24/7 phone line, which is known ALFY (Advice Line For You), is operated by experienced nurses who are able to listen to callers’ concerns, and make sure they receive the right help and support. This could range from offering general reassurance and advice on a wide range of health issues, to signposting callers to relevant emergency social work, voluntary or local services. Staff are also able to book appointments to attend a rapid access frailty clinic at Forth Valley Royal Hospital where a number of tests or assessments can be carried out or arrange for a community nurse to visit an older person at home, day or night, if required.

The service, which can be accessed by calling 01324 567247, is aimed at people aged 65 and over. 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 may care for them. NHS Forth Valley has also written to around 3,800 older people across Forth Valley who they think could particularly benefit from this new service.

Irene Warnock, NHS Forth Valley’s Head of Community Nursing, said: “The feedback from some of the initial service users and their families in Bo’ness has been very positive and we already know that it has helped many local people access additional services and support which have enabled them to remain at home rather than having to be admitted to hospital.”

“We hope that by making the service available to anyone aged 65 and over across Forth Valley we will be able to help many older people access the services, support and reassurance they require. I would therefore encourage anyone in this age group to make use of this valuable new service or get in touch with us direct if they would like more information.”

NHS Forth Valley District Nurse Sandra Grant, one of the nurses who has been operating the ALFY line, said, “We have received positive feedback from the pilot project which confirms the service is making a real difference to older people. Some who have been referred by ALFY to local rehabilitation services said they felt more confident following help from occupational therapy and physiotherapy staff. Another lady, who had fallen in the past, said it was reassuring having the ALFY number. She also felt less frightened when a MECs alarm was installed after we referred her to this service. People in general have found it easier and quicker to get advice and help by phoning ALFY for a range of problems relating to both health and social issues.

One woman contacted the service when her husband became unwell and she injured herself trying to help him. She explained that they were both exhausted and did not know what to do. The ALFY team arranged for a GP to visit the couple at home who diagnosed a chest infection and provided antibiotics. The night nursing team also visited the couple at home, carried out an assessment and arranged for a zimmer frame and other equipment to be delivered to the house within an hour. Emergency respite care was arranged and social work staff put in place a daily package of care to assist with washing and dressing. The couple were also put in touch with a local voluntary organisation who provided assistance with shopping and other errands.

 The new ALFY service does not replace existing services. Local people should still contact 999 in an emergency or NHS24 on 111 if they think they need to see a GP when their GP surgery is closed and cannot wait until it re-opens.

As part of the new service, older people are also being 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. Your Plan allows people to document all the important things that matter to them in relation to their health and care needs in the one place. By sharing this information everyone will know what to do if a problem arises and what support could be given to help people remain as independent as possible in their own home. A number of information sessions are being organised across Forth Valley to raise awareness of the new service and answer any questions local people may have.

Venue Date Time
Falkirk Town Hall, Studio Hall

West Bridge Street, Falkirk, FK1 5RS

Wednesday

2 December 2015

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Brightons Community Hall

Main Street, Brightons, FK2 0JT

Thursday

3 December 2015,

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Bonnybridge Community Centre

Bridge Street, Bonnybridge, FK4 1AA

Tuesday

8 December 2015

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Callander Kirk Hall

Church Street, Callander, FK7 8BN

Wednesday

9 December 2015

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Alloa Town Hall, Tommy Downs Room

Marshill, Alloa, FK10 1 AB

Thursday

10 December 2015

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Raploch Community Campus, Meeting Room 4

Drip Road, Raploch, Stirling, FK8 1RD

Wednesday

16 December 2015

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Further information sessions will take place over the coming months across Forth Valley.

Additional details about ALFY and Your Plan, including three short video clips, are available on the NHS Forth Valley website www.nhsforthvalley.com/alfy.