One of the issues with the fragmented health and social care system prior to St Helens Cares was that there were several entry points, which was confusing to not only the general public but also to professionals. Early in the design of St Helens Cares the aim was established to have a single Front Door which was well publicised as the entry point to all health and social care services. From this concept came a project to establish “Contact Cares” as the single entry point.
Contact Cares is a multi-disciplinary team and its 300+ staff come from a range of organisations (including North West Boroughs Healthcare, Torus, St Helens & Knowsley Trust and St Helens and Halton Councils).
Contact Cares is based at Nightingale House and operates from 8am – 10pm 365 days of the year. The Contact Cares telephone number is 01744 676767.
There are 3 forms of provision within Contact Cares, known as “tiers”.
Tier 1 – Initial Contact and Assessment
Tier 1 acts as a health and social care referral point and can offer signposting, initial telephone assessment, appointment booking, social worker allocation, adult and children's safeguarding referrals and much more.
An initial call is taken by a Contact Cares Advisor. The call will either be dealt with directly by the Advisor or can be passed, in real time to a telephone multi disciplinary team. The MDT includes a nurse, therapist, social worker, proactive care coordinator and mental health advisor.
At any point in Tier 1 the referral request may be resolved, allocated or referred on ensuring that people get the right care, at the right time, from the right person.
Tier 2 – Face to Face Assessment
Contact Cares also offers an assessment function and this can be planned or within 2 hours of referral. An assessment within 2 hours is called a “crisis response. Planned assessments will be undertaken by Contact Cares where the presenting need suggests a short term intervention is required. For example, someone may need a care package, one or two visits from a Falls Specialist, an Occupational Therapy assessment or support with hospital discharge.
Other roles within Tier 2 include a Housing Co-ordinator, a Trusted Assessor (care homes), Trusted Assessor (small aids and adaptations) and a team of Proactive Care Co-ordinators who work with both primary care and the emergency department at Whiston hospital.
Tier 3 – Provision
Tier 3 covers services that Contact Cares can provide, often very quickly to help maintain people at home until a longer term plan can be considered. These services include provision of rebalement, transport to take people home from Accident and Emergency, intermediate care beds, transitional tenancy support and help to access items such as an emergency food supply.
Tier 3 also operates a Hospital Avoidance Car and a mobile assessment unit for those who require equipment to help them bathe.