Health Facilitator Role at Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health
This role has developed over the past few years. Ruth Tucker previously coordinated an exercise prescription scheme at our local gym as an initiative between local surgeries and the local Council. She came to College Surgery as activity facilitator as part of a cooperation between the surgery and Natural England looking at how activity in the form of anything from short walks in the countryside to visits to the gym might improve health in patients ranging from those who were overweight/unfit to those with depression. Her work in this role was popular with GPs and patients alike and the role was developed within the two year DH Self Care Project to a full time role, which continues to this day.
As Health Facilitator, Ruth helps and sees patients both at College Surgery and Bramblehaies Surgery. Her main current roles include:
- Being a face to face health resource for patients referred by other professionals (particularly GPs) and self-referred. Ruth’s background in physical activity and having had motivational training puts her in poll position to assess patients (using LifeCheck and other tools), provide advice on exercise, nutrition etc…, demonstrate means of self-care such as our free on line Thought Field Therapy programme (rather like CBT) and signpost to voluntary organisations or self-help groups.
- She is catalyst for these self-help/self care groups, which include groups for:-
She also acts as the interface between local voluntary statutory agencies and individual patients and the surgery itself. This includes drawing up a database of all local voluntary and statutory agencies, directing individual patients to them as necessary and working with individuals involved in them. These individuals may be professionals from the local Authority and third sector or volunteers from our neighbouring surgery and act as an extension of Ruth’s role. In this way she and GP partners are able to offer patients a whole range of services as part of a “community prescription scheme” offering an alternative to the traditional medical referral.She acts as the “face” of health promotion at the surgery/Integrated Centre with a desk marked “Health Facilitator”, wearing an appropriate badge and being very much part of the “scenery” in the waiting room, café and other public areas of the Integrated Centre with advertised and availability in the waiting room and café. Her presence together with a range of self-care activities in the surgery (e.g. patients measure their own blood pressure/weight/BMI on an automated machine and can directly access LifeCheck/the Calm Zone) extends the message and ethos of self care to patients visiting the surgery (90% of registered patients will visit the Centre during the year) and community.She acts as integrator of staff/services provided within the Centre providing strong support to the Patients Group and their work as co-providers at the Centre (e.g. manning the Library, Walks and Talks for patients, educational evenings including very popular “Any Questions” evenings and open days). She coordinates the work of volunteers provided by the Patients Group and the group is committed to providing more volunteers so that she can effectively extend and multiply her work at the Centre and in the community.
- Specific disease areas - e.g. patients with heart disease, diabetes and fibromyalgia.
- Specific needs - e.g. “Knit and Natter” group for the socially isolated, College Surgery Amblers for the overweight and unfit. Creative writing, printing and book reading groups for patients needing directed activity/socialisation.
- Specific form of activity, often led by patients themselves, such as the gardening group, sitting yoga group and Tai Chi group.