‘Link’ working –connecting people to the right professionals, services and activities at the right time to contribute to their health and wellbeing.
Whilst a degree of application of the role has come and gone over the years, the role is newly being recognised for its potential value in all sectors.
Why the new recognition?
There’s new evidence to suggest that the role can help all sectors manage their common unrelenting struggle to deliver good service despite growing patient demand, over stretched budgets and a very fatigued workforce.
The pressure for a solution, quickly, means a dynamic and varied ‘link’ workplace is emerging, referring to service with different language, being carried out under different titles, with different roles, dependent on sector. Some of the current service references include:
Social prescribing (sometimes referred to as community referral, carried out by a link worker or navigator, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services in order to provide high quality, holistic care (source: The King’s Fund)
Care navigation (helping people to get the right support, at the right time to help manage a wide range of needs. This may include support with long term conditions, help with finances and signposting to a range of statutory and voluntary sector services (source: Health Education England)
Active signposting (a type of care navigation, asking for a little bit more information of patients to help correctly and quickly, at the first point of contact, signpost to the right professionals, services or activities (source: NHS England Primary Care Development)
Link (existing well before any other role, designed to support people in identifying and navigating personalised innovative opportunities and solutions to support the self-management of their complex health and social care needs (source: Age UK).
Are the descriptions above ringing true to your experience? Anything to add? Feel free to get in touch or leave comments below.
Whichever the service offering above, there’s no doubt that success of service offering is directly tied to the degree that those who deliver the role are set up for success! We’re here to help, should you need it.