By Lucy Ashton
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will shortly begin work on new apps and a website that will help people with a range of neurological conditions to live well in the community.
The service will contain a host of information, including advice on symptom management, everyday support information, help with common issues such as sleep or memory, and links to support groups and charities.
And as well as giving wraparound support for patients, families and carers, it will provide important referral guidelines for GPs to help them identify the most appropriate care pathway for their patients, reducing the need for people to attend hospital appointments when care is available in the community.
It will cover a range of conditions, such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and even headaches and migraines, and will offer an accessible, interactive resource available at the touch of a button or swipe of a screen considerably reducing the need for paper leaflets that are currently given to patients during their care.
Eilidh Gallagher, Clinical Service Manager at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “For many patients who are newly diagnosed with a neurological condition, one of the biggest challenges they face is access to information. The internet is bursting with information, but finding reliable sources can be extremely difficult.
“When patients first come to us, we try our best to equip them with the knowledge they might need, but in those early days of coming to terms with a neurological diagnosis, it’s all too easy for patients to forget what they have been told or simply to lose the literature they have been given.
“These new apps and website will change all that. When the resource is up and running it will contain advice, information and links to services that patients and their carers and loved ones can trust, and that they can access anywhere, 24 hours a day.
“However,” Eilidh went on, “trusted information won’t be the only benefit. The referral guidelines will also be useful for GPs looking to access appropriate care for their patients.
“Because of the range of neurological conditions and the sheer number of care and support services available, supplied by NHSGGC or our partner organisations and charities, GPs may find it a real challenge to identify the most appropriate pathway for their patient. This may result in GPs referring patients to hospital when other pathways may be more appropriate.
“By giving GPs clear referral guidelines, the new apps and website will help address this issue and potentially reduce unnecessary referrals to hospitals, allowing patients who need to be seen in hospital to receive the care they need more quickly.
“It really will be a one-stop shop for patients and everybody involved with their care.”
It is envisaged that the apps will take around a year to develop and NHSGGC is seeking collaboration with colleagues in primary care, patient forums, the third sector and other support organisations to ensure it provides the most appropriate support for patients and all involved in their care. For more information, please email Susan.Dillon@ggc.scot.nhs.uk
With financial support via the Neurological Care and Support Framework, funded by the Scottish Government, it is being developed using Right Decisions Service – a national initiative with NHS Scotland which provides support for health and care organisations across a range of areas.