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How can MySupportBroker help your parent coordinate care?

Founded in 2010 MySupportBroker CIC is a national social enterprise helping to bridge the gap between health and social care by bringing together local people with personal experience of managing long term health conditions with those who need guidance in sourcing and coordinating their own care and support.

We talked to Josephine, a Support Broker based in North London, who shares why she joined the service and how she’s helped service users remain independent, living in their own homes for as long as possible.

Why did I become a Support Broker?

My mother-in-law, who sadly passed away last year, had been in and out of hospital with an ongoing heart condition, high blood pressure and worsening mobility which meant that the care package she’d been receiving from the NHS and her local social services had quickly become unsuited to her growing needs.

I began to liaise with social services to ensure my mother-in-law was given the additional support she needed within the community and that her needs were communicated effectively across the different services involved in providing her care. I realised that my experience helping coordinate care for my mother-in-law had given me unique expertise which I felt could benefit others who found themselves in a similar situation so I became a Peer Support Broker.

What does my Support Broker role involve?

Working alongside Middlesex social services, within North Middlesex hospital, I’ve used my role as a Support Broker to help enhance the care provided for elderly patients who’re in need of further support when they come to being discharged.

George, 82, who was admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke and with a diagnosis of dementia, was assigned to me by the resident social workers so I could devise a support plan that would work for both him and his family. While his initial care assessment, the paperwork and planning were carried out by the social workers, who have duty of care, it’s my responsibility to ensure that when he comes home from hospital he doesn’t fall through the cracks.

When George came in to hospital his daughters were concerned for his welfare and how they could help to maintain his quality of life once he returned home. They wanted to be as involved in his care as possible but with full time jobs they knew it would be difficult to find time to support their dad during the week.

I arranged additional support for him to make sure he was living well on his own and lower his chance of re-admittance by liaising with the free and paid-for services run within local community to find those best suited to his needs.

I organised for George to attend a weekly lunch club where they provided him with a healthy lunch, exercise and table games as well as personal advice. Before he’d suffered a stroke he’d been lonely and so this type of activity allowed for him to socialise with other members of the community who shared similar interests and values.

I also helped to connect him with the Enfield Shopmobility Scheme, who taught him how to use a scooter so he could get out and about unassisted, increasing his independence and mobility. This meant George had more quality time with his daughters, who often took him shopping at the weekend.

Dial-a-ride was another useful tool I introduced to help him get to his lunch club and similarly to hospital appointments unaided, as he was no longer able to drive himself after his stroke. Recovering from the debilitating effects of a stroke can depend enormously on the support system that surrounds the sufferer as soon as they leave the hospital environment.

If support isn’t in place for an older person who has perhaps experienced more than one spell in hospital, they can struggle to care for themselves as well as seek help sometimes for the most basic of tasks.

What Support Brokers can do

Support Brokers have the enormous advantage of personal experience in managing either their own care or a loved one’s care in terms of liaising with local authorities, luncheon groups, charitable organisations, care agencies and the NHS.

This means they’re able to give you and your parent advice on the kind of support to put in place to help them reconnect with their local community and rebuild their life after facing health challenges. Their mission is “making it possible for people with long term health conditions to live their best life”. They work to a set budget, research and negotiate quality and value for money services as part of their service.

Support Brokers also facilitate the use of a secure, online portal which holds up-to-date information about your parent’s medical history, ongoing care needs and their current care plan. This Health and Social Care record can be accessed by nominated relatives, healthcare professionals and members of social services, allowing them to tailor the support they offer to meet your parent’s individual needs.

What Support Brokers can’t do

While the MySupportBroker’s service connects users who’re unable to coordinate their own care with numerous organisations and community groups in their local area who’re able to provide them with the support and care they need to sustain a fulfilling life they don’t personally deliver care for those they help.

All Support Brokers undergo training to become fully qualified and accredited to QCF Level 3 before being able to apply their expertise to help you and your parent. All work is independently quality assured. There are no referral fees of commissions paid to Support Brokers for making recommendations, they will only refer your parent to services they truly believe will enhance their quality of life.

How do I appoint a Support Broker for my parent?

MySupportBroker is an independent service which means you can arrange a Support Broker to help you and your parent, as well as other relatives and carers, coordinate their care without the need for a referral from a medical professional. Fees vary from case to case so it’s best to discuss the extent of your parent’s care needs before you enlist the help of a Support Broker.

Sarah, a self-funding customer, recently saved £8,000 a year in care costs. Her Support Broker helped her completely reorganise the way her care was being delivered. With assistance from a money management service, Sarah now employs PAs rather than a care agency, in her case an altogether more personal and cost-effective solution.

For more information about MySupportBroker call 0800 994 9944 or get in touch to receive a call back or email to discuss how MySupportBroker’s service can help to enrich your parent’s life as they face the challenges of ageing.

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