Community Navigator provides support to older people

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has appointed Bronagh McFadden as Community Navigator to support older people in maintaining and improving their health and wellbeing.

Bronagh, who is based in Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, aims to understand the needs of older people in the Ballymoney, Coleraine and Moyle areas and to assist them in accessing help from services such as the Befriending scheme, Community Transport, Home Security, the British Red Cross and the Northern Trust Carers Co-ordinator. Bronagh provides a vital link between Northern Trust services and the community and voluntary sector building up knowledge and partnership working across these sectors.

Seventy nine year old Helen lives in Garvagh and she has already benefitted from the help of the Community Navigator. She has suspected dementia and no mobility but referrals have been made for Helen to the befriending scheme, MARA project (Maximising Access to benefits in Rural Areas), British Red Cross Home and Well Scheme, Warm Homes Scheme and carers support through the Northern Trust Carer’s Co-ordinator.

Speaking about the help Helen received her daughter said:

“At the start my mother was a bit wary about receiving support but now she enjoys the help she receives especially the hand massages and chat. It gives her something to look forward to and the lady who visits her to give her the hand massage is lovely.

One of the services Helen was referred to was the British Red Cross Home and Well Scheme. Helen appreciates the help they give her and said: “If it wasn’t for them I would not be receiving carers allowance and would be feeling like I had no help or support from anyone. It’s great to have someone that can connect all these people together and put me in contact with the services that can help me”.

Commenting, Community Navigator, Bronagh McFadden said:

“My main aim is to meet the needs of an aging population by working in partnership with community and voluntary organisations to connect older people to a range of preventative services which are available in their area to enable them to live more independently and safely at home.

“The Community Navigator approach is widely acknowledged to reduce the number of re-admissions to hospital and inappropriate referrals to clinical services. It also facilitates discharge of patients from such services sooner, due to support being in place to enhance the care that older people receive on discharge.

“A referral mechanism which can be accessed by Northern Trust teams, GPs, community and voluntary groups, older people or their families is in place. To date I have received over 100 referrals. This has enabled many older people to access multiple services in the community which allow them to remain independent at home and socially active, thus complimenting the role of the Northern Trust. The sharing of information between community and voluntary groups and the mapping of services to help older people are vital to the success of my post.

The Community Navigator post is jointly funded by the Northern Trust and the Public Health Agency.

For more information or to make a referral contact Bronagh McFadden at Ballymoney Community Resource Centre on 028 276 65068 or by email –

22nd May 2015

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