Life Link Clinic launched for relatives of Walton rehabilitation patients

A weekly clinic to support relatives of patients with complex rehabilitation needs has been launched in The Walton Centre.

The Trust, as part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Rehabilitation Network (CMRN), has set up the clinic with the aim to address the socio-economic needs of patients with complex needs and their relatives. The Life Link Clinic was initially set up in 2017 on Phoenix Unit in Broadgreen Hospital and has grown to now function in a number of inpatient facilities across the CMRN.

In the clinics, patients and relatives are able to discuss with a staff member the availability of community support, to tackle unnecessary anxiety and stress in an often already anxious and stressful situation. The team is working with a former patient and their family in order to develop and shape the new clinics. The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North West Coast is also involved in implementing and evaluating the new clinics.

Rehab-coordinator and Project Lead Claire Hendry said: “The rehab team is collaborating with the psychology team, social workers and The Brain Charity to give patients and relatives the support they may need after clinical treatments. We identified a lack of access to co-ordinated social and economic support and this is something patients and families highlighted as a constant source of stress during rehabilitation. 

“This approach works in alongside inpatient treatment, adopting a preventative approach to support both patients and their families. We’re aiming to help minimise potential problems on discharge, including financial and living situations, and signpost towards support earlier.

“With these new clinics I’m confident we can meet the needs of our patients and families. It’s giving us the chance to be creative with our resources and skills in our approach to complex rehab patient care – for the good of the patient. We want the rehab experience to be as calm and as smooth as possible and I think this work will be incredibly helpful in doing that.”

The clinics will be based in the Complex Rehabilitation Unit. The majority of the sessions will consist of assessing the non-medical needs of patients and relatives and signposting them towards where they can gain extra support when closer to home.

CMRN Manager Alison Price said: “It’s great to have this extra layer of support for patients but, in particular, for relatives too. We understand that rehabilitation covers more than just the medical treatments. It’s incredibly important that everything is considered in a patient’s journey, so that life after being treated at The Walton Centre isn’t a dramatic and difficult adjustment.”