Littlewick GPs Showcase Support for Elderly

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By sarahlnewall | Monday, January 07, 2013, 12:48

FRAIL and elderly people could be helped to live more independently thanks to a new 'at-risk' register which is being piloted by Ilkeston GPs. 

Under the 'Littlewick Outreach Vulnerable Elderly (LOVE) project, GPs from Littlewick Medical Centre will be able to review vital information from health and social services, the voluntary sector and regional energy efficiency officers about their patients. 

This could see hundreds of vulnerable people aged over 70 given extra support with day-to-day activities – including food shops, heating and insulating their home, acquiring medical equipment such as grab rails and assistance during long periods of cold weather. 

The scheme – which could be rolled out to all GP practices in Derby and Derbyshire if successful – has already been piloted on 55 volunteer patients by a nurse practitioner from Littlewick Medical Centre.

The second phase of the pilot, which is already under way, will be showcased at Littlewick Medical Centre on Tuesday, January 29 between 11.30am and 1.30pm. This will see a further 55 people interviewed by a project officer, with relevant information shared with local GPs. 

Dr Gail Walton, GP at Littlewick Medical Centre, said: "The cold winter months can be incredibly tough for elderly people, leaving the most vulnerable alone and isolated at a critical time. 

"Through this project we hope to create a fuller picture of the effect a cold, damp home and lack of mobility can have on a person's health, and why some people are not identified as being at risk even though they are clearly asking for help, for example, by requesting someone empties their bin for them."

At the moment, there are three lists which help health and social services, the voluntary sector and energy efficiency teams provide more support to elderly patients. But under the new system, GPs can review whether patients are receiving extra benefits that could help them heat their house to recommended temperatures, eat properly and get life-saving equipment in the home.

The event on the 29 January is being backed by the National Energy Action 'Footprints Award' as part of NHS Derbyshire County's and Erewash Borough Council's successful £2K bid to British Gas and the Department of Energy and Climate Change to pilot a preventative health programme.

Advice about staying healthy and warm can be obtained from Kay Kent on 0115 931 6061. Copies of the 'Healthy and Warm in Derbyshire' booklet are available on request from Jane Horton on 01629 533830.  

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