Guide to finding health and social care services in Norfolk
The distinction between health and social care services for elderly care in Norfolk can be a bit blurry!
Just to re-cap – the NHS provides free health care. Norfolk County Council (NCC – the Local Authority) through its social services/care department provides social care – to help people live well – some of which may not be free.
Fortunately there is increasing co-ordination between the NHS and NCC social services, often through the GP surgery or local care team.
You may need to make direct contact with social services rather than assume everything through the GP.
Norfolk Swift Response – 0344 800 8020
If your elderly parent or relative needs emergency help at home but not immediate medical attention or an ambulance – you can call the Swift Response team at NCC.
This 24-hour service provides help, support and reassurance if you have an urgent, unplanned need at home but don’t need the emergency services.
So for example, if a parent or carer is suddenly admitted to hospital, the Swift Response team can assist with getting up, washing and dressing. Or if your parent has a fall but is not seriously injured, the team can bring special lifting equipment to help make moving as safe as possible.
NHS Services across Norfolk
NHS services are currently provided across Norfolk by 5 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) each covering a different geographic area. (This will change in 2020 when they merge into one super structure – details still being confirmed).
Each has their own website where you can search for local services by postcode including GP surgeries, specific clinics, optometrists, dentists.
Community healthcare for the elderly in Norfolk
Slightly confusingly, Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust provides all community-based healthcare (at home or eg local clinics) across Norfolk. Their Care Services Directory lists services, where they take place, contact details etc.
And yet another directory of health services is also available: Heron is an NHS directory for Norfolk – it includes support groups, statutory and voluntary agencies.
It also provides patient information about diseases and conditions in various community languages and formats. https://www.heron.nhs.uk/ .
GP Surgeries in Norfolk
The GP surgery should be your first port of call for any help required. They may refer you on to other specialties, or co-ordinate between different services. Some of the main ones include:
District or community nurses provide nursing care at home, either on-going or short term after discharge from hospital.
A district nurse may provide wound care, support catheter care, and administer complex medication. They work with the local GP practice and with all the other community health and social care professionals.
An OT will determine what support someone needs whose health prevents them from doing daily activities such as such as dressing or getting to the shops.
They will carry out an assessment and work out practical solutions including recommending equipment in the home to help with tasks or general mobility. Similarly physiotherapists can help restore movement and function to the body.
Continence Clinics in Norfolk
This is a difficult subject to be discussed, even with the GP. There are a continence clinics across the county. You may need a referral from the GP or be able to book direct.
If your parent has had several falls and the GP thinks they may be at high risk of falling again they may be referred to a Falls Prevention clinic.
The clinic may well refer your parent to occupational therapy to get an assessment of their home and to suggest any equipment which could help them.
These are also available across Norfolk. You can search for them in any of the directories above. We have a section on different Dementia services across the county which you might find useful for all sorts of information and advice.
Permission to share information
If you want to contact the GP to discuss your parent or spouse you will need to have this authorised, probably in writing, by both the patient and the GP.
Should your parent or relative be losing the mental capacity to make their own decisions, then you might need to consider putting a Power of Attorney in place which will also enable you to speak to the GP on their behalf.
NCC Elderly social care services
Norfolk County Council (NCC) Adult Social Services provide access to social care services across the county. This ranges from extra care at home, to home alterations or access to specialist kit and equipment.
Care Needs Assessment
Through NCC you can arrange a care needs assessment to determine the level and type of support/care needed, from home adaptations to residential nursing care.
Our comprehensive guide to organising a care assessment in Norfolk will give you the information and contacts you need to arrange one.
The assessments will also establish how much NCC will (or won’t) contribute to the care. Not all care is means tested, so it is worth getting an assessment done. Also, care needs change so it is good to be in the system.
Resources/directories for Norfolk
Norfolk Care Guide
There is a comprehensive guide to care and to all of the local services, called Your Guide to Care and Support for Adults. It’s quite a big read! As well as information about services and who to talk to, the Guide includes several useful checklists.
It is a great starting point and should answer many of your questions including: staying safe and well at home; arranging care; leaving hospital; care home options and funding care. You can ask to be sent a free copy by calling NCC on 0344 800 8020.
Norfolk Community Directory
You might find the Norfolk Community Directory useful. A NCC resource, it contains organisations, services, activities across the county to keep people healthy and well.
Beds available in Norfolk care homes
Age UK Norfolk provides a weekly updated list of care home vacancies in the county which you can access here. You can search on the Care Quality Commission website for care homes and their ratings here.
We have a section on Care Homes in Norfolk which provides listings, reviews and other information including how to select the right home.
Support for Carers
If you’re new to caring, you might find Norfolk Carers Support useful.