Care Navigation is an increasingly widely recognised concept in the NHS and has proven very effective as part of the GP Forward View’s High Impact Actions in freeing up time for care. The SocialPrescriberPlus™ Program is aligned with Health Education England’s Competency Framework for Care Navigation at the Enhanced Level and provides delegates with enhanced skills and techniques to work with individual, high dependency patients on a Case Management basis.
What is Enhanced Level Care Navigation/Social Prescribing/Link Working?
Rather confusingly, the term Care Navigation has come to mean two different, but closely connected concepts. The Care Navigator at the Essential level of Health Education England’s Competency Framework for Care Navigation works as part of the Reception team in GP surgeries – triaging and actively signposting their patients to the most appropriate practitioner or service for their patient’s specific needs. In some Practices, the job title of Receptionist has been replaced by that of Care Navigator or Patient Advisor.
The Care Navigator at the Enhanced Level of the HEE Framework works with individual patients in the Practice or in the community and has enhanced skills. They provide personalised support to the elderly, the vulnerable and those suffering with chronic conditions such as cancer, mental health problems, diabetes, etc. They take more of a holistic ‘case management’ approach, helping individual patients to navigate the complexities of the health system and advocating and representing their interests to relevant MDTs and non clinical organisations. Care Navigation/Social Prescribing at this level is generally short term and has the aim of helping patients to move from dependence to independence.
A variety of job titles have been created that essentially refer to the same role – Social Prescriber is the preferred term of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), who have recommended that every Practice be funded for a Social Prescriber. The University of Westminster, whose ‘Patient Outcomes in Health’ Research Group has created the excellent Making Sense of Social Prescribing have chosen the term Link Worker.
Regardless of the job title, and there are a great many different ones, they all share the same broad role – that of working on a case management basis with patients or clients suffering from chronic diseases/conditions or social care issues to help them navigate the wider health and social care system and help them move from dependence to independence. In addition to being interested in providing care at a more personal level, Care Navigators/Social prescribers will also be equipped with enhanced engagement skills, including motivational interviewing, active listening and health coaching.
Our SocialPrescriberPlus™ Program is designed to equip suitable candidates operating at this Enhanced level with the skills needed to engage effectively with their patients/clients, and encourage them to take greater responsibility for their own conditions, whilst at the same time acting as a trusted friend and advocate.
Our program starts from the premise that all attendees have been selected or recruited to attend the Program based on their desire to spend more time actively helping their patients/clients to live a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. This is an essential prerequisite of a successful Social Prescriber.
The SocialPrescriberPlus™ Program
Enhanced Care Navigation Training for Social Prescribers and Link Workers
Our SocialPrescriberPlus™ Program has three main elements:
Prior to the start of any training we consult and work closely with the Practice Manager or Employing Manager to understand the future role and responsibilities of the Enhanced Care Navigator within the Practice or organisation. This allows us to craft the Program so that the case studies and examples reflect the role that the Enhanced Care Navigator will be undertaking and the environment in which they will be working.
Three Half Day Workshops
The Enhanced Care Navigator Program is divided into 3 half day workshops or modules, two of which normally take place on the same day and the third which takes place several weeks after the delegates take up their new role. They are designed to provide delegates with the knowledge and skills needed to gain the trust of patients and encourage them to take greater responsibility for managing their conditions.
Module 1 – The role of the Social Prescribing Link Worker in the Practice or Community (Half Day)
This module introduces the concept of Social Prescribing and helps delegates to understand their role in relation to their patients, the rest of the Practice, the community and the wider health service. It focuses particularly on the skills needed by the Enhanced Navigator to represent the views and needs of their patients to their Practice colleagues and to other service providers in the wider health system. The topics covered include case management techniques, negotiation and advocacy skills, record keeping, networking and presentation skills to enable them to advocate for their patients to other health professionals and MDTs, and the softer skills of building productive relationships within the wider health system.
Module 2 – Case Management skills with the Patient (Half Day)
This module looks at the approaches and techniques central to engaging effectively with the patient and encouraging them to take a more hands-on approach to self-managing and taking greater responsibility for their condition. It includes training in competencies such as Active Listening, Health Coaching and Motivational Interviewing and provides opportunities to practise the techniques in a safe and supportive environment.
Module 3 – Active Learning Session (Half Day)
Module 3 takes place several weeks after the delegates have started their new role and is hosted by one of the delegates in their own Practice. In a facilitated learning environment, delegates are invited to present real life situations and case studies that have presented a challenge in their new role. The assembled delegates discuss the challenge and, through a structured process, provide feedback and suggestions to help the delegate with the challenge. It is an immensely powerful process and is designed to help delegates with their own particular challenges, as well as to provide a networking forum that will provide regular opportunities for the delegates to meet and discuss current topics and issues.
Whilst Social Prescribing can be immensely rewarding, the nature of one-on-one case management can also be isolating from colleagues and potentially lonely. The entire Program is therefore designed to enable close and enduring professional friendships to be developed between the delegates, and to put in place structures that will allow delegates to draw on the professional support and friendship of their colleagues going forward.
Feedback and Evaluation
We provide extensive evaluation and support for 12 months following the conclusion of training. This includes:
Verbatim delegate feedback from the Program, provided to the Employing Manager. Feedback forms include questions you may wish to ask delegates, as well as those we need to continually improve the programme.
Evaluation of the program at the one month and 6 month points, and detailed feedback on the evaluation to the Employing Manager. The one month evaluation is to identify any Social Prescriber that is struggling with the role, and allows us to provide immediate custom support. The 6 month evaluation is conducted in collaboration with the Employing Manager and looks at metrics such as the difference made to the Practice through employment of a Social Prescriber, as well as measures such as whether other members of the Practice team have benefited from the having a Care Navigator/Social Prescriber in post.
For the 12 months following the training we provide 24/7 telephone support to individual Care Navigators and a dedicated Closed Facebook Group for Social Prescribers to promote networking and Best Practice.