Coaches step in to support the mental health of shielded patients


25th August 2020

Coaches step in to support the mental health of shielded patients

Vulnerable patients who have been self-isolating have been receiving extra mental health support from dedicated Health Coaches.

The Health Coaches, who are all specially-trained nurses, call patients who have been identified as being at extra risk of suffering mental health difficulties during lockdown.

The scheme, run by provider HN, was commissioned as a rapid response to the COVID crisis and is currently operating in pilot form across Stafford and Cannock Chase.

Dr Paddy Hannigan is a GP, the Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG, and also leads the Digital Programme of Together We’re Better – the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Dr Hannigan said:

“Many patients have had to shield because they have complex long-term conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus.

“This can also mean they are suffering from anxiety and isolation, and GPs have been identifying these patients and offering them extra support from Health Coaches.

“This was work that was commissioned at speed as a response to COVID, but we have worked with HN for four years so were well aware of how they support patients.”

The Health Coaches use a range of psychological therapies.

Dr Paddy Hannigan

Dr Hannigan added:

“We realised fairly quickly that we had a number of patients who had significant health conditions who were not going to be able to access services in the normal way and would be isolated and at extra risk.

“The Health Coaches take a psychological and behavioural approach to support people that is used widely across the NHS.

“Health coaching builds patient resilience and improves wellbeing. It is also a good use of NHS resources as patients are less likely to need urgent care elsewhere, so everyone wins from this piece of work.

“The work that has been commissioned will by fully analysed, but we already have anecdotal patient reports saying they feel supported and value the help from their Health Coach.”ENDS
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