Social workers in Sunderland form a vital part of the new ‘community integrated teams’, helping to put the human touch into care, to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in Sunderland are supported, receiving care where and how they want it.

Working closely with health professionals including nurses and GPs, as well as representatives from Age UK Sunderland; Sunderland Carers Centre, community integrated teams help make sure that people who may previously have been admitted to hospital are supported with care that is wrapped around their needs.  The teams are part of the All Together Better Sunderland programme, a ‘new care model’ that is transforming the way we care for those who need it most in the city.

There are five teams working across the city and social-workers from the team based in Washington explained how their specialist expertise offers a different persepective to the medical or health related view, focused more towards a person’s wellbeing.  They assist people and any family members who help look after them, with social challenges owed to their poor health as well as other circumstances, by putting in place the right intervention to keep them safe and happy in the environment they want to be in.  The team is also on hand to assist when it is decided that the best course of action is for the person to move to new accommodation, working with them and their family to decide on where will be best to meet their needs.  Their role is to understand the social and emotional needs of the people they work with, and – in partnership with health-focused colleagues – agree a care package that meets these needs, as well as taking into account the medical support they require to enable them to live the most fulfilling and independent life possible.

Wayne Scott, who heads up the Washington team of social workers, said: “Social care is about listening to the wishes and needs of our clients – members of the public who need our help.  And we do everything we can to make sure that we meet those needs, and, working with our health colleagues, agree a care programme that does all that it needs to in order to improve their health, as well as allowing them to maintain the highest possible quality of life, from a social and emotional point of view.

“We build relationships with the people we work with.  They trust us to support them, and we do everything we can to do that.  It’s about care, compassion and companionship – and that’s what we hope to bring to All Together Better and to the people we work with day-to-day.”