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Changing lives in north Manchester

September 17 2018 | Articles | News

(Bernard, left, is just one of the clients Lisa has helped to change their life for the better.)

Lisa Anderton is north Manchester’s independent living officer. For the past year, she’s been working with the community, helping to ease pressure on the NHS.

Her role was created through a partnership of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC) and Northwards Housing.

She aims to engage with residents who are frequent re-attendees in hospital or A&E departments, and those identified as vulnerable, isolated or lonely. To date she has helped 155 people improve their way of life.

Lisa receives referrals from various sources, including GPs and the North West Ambulance Service. 79 clients were referred to her by the crisis response team. The team have since reported that just five of these clients are still in need of support.

Happier, healthier lives

Lisa works with individuals on a one-to-one basis, identifying underlying issues they may have. Her support is helping people live happier, healthier lives whilst reducing pressure on NHS services.

Lisa said: “Often the people I see are very lonely, with nobody to talk to at home. Going somewhere new and trying new activities can be extremely daunting.

"I just hold their hand. It could be something simple like taking someone to their first lunch club. Once they go and see it’s nice and there are other people in the same boat, the fear goes away.

"Having something to look forward too, even once a week can make a huge difference to people who are socially isolated.”

Complex issues

Lisa also helps with more complex issues.

Bernard Pearson, aged 85, was referred to her via North Manchester General Hospital. After a fall, staff were concerned that Bernard would struggle to manage at home.

When Lisa made contact, she discovered Bernard was living on the ground floor of his two-storey property. As well as his mobility issues, Bernard was lonely and isolated and often sat outside his home and would chat to passers-by which could potentially put him in a vulnerable situation.

Lisa quickly found Bernard more suitable accommodation. He is now living in a ground floor flat in Edward Grant Court, a retirement housing scheme in Harpurhey.

“This flat is much better for me.” Bernard said, “This summer has been brilliant; I’ve spent most of it sitting in the lovely garden. Getting to the shops is much easier for me, so I’m getting out and about a lot more.”

Councillor Bev Craig, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said: "Manchester is never afraid to try anything new and welcomes innovative projects like this that help to keep people well and socially connected where they live.

"The help and support that Lisa and people like her offer to the city's more vulnerable residents plays a valuable role in helping Manchester people live healthier and happier lives."

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