A non-clinical link worker role: Some things to think about
The role of a non-clinical link worker isn’t new.
What is new is the growing evidence that this type of role can play an invaluable part in helping to meet the national priority of ‘improving population health and wellbeing’.
Growing evidence is resulting in:
– New interest in the role:
– From organisations: those interested in providing a ‘link’ service and
– From people: those already performing a link worker role or are interested in considering the role (see our Non-Clinical Career Pathway).
– Need for clarification of the role:
– Currently the role is being referred to with different language, different titles dependent on the type of organisation (e.g. health care, social care and community or charity). (see our ‘Connect Link’ support: roles and scope)
The role of a link worker can be as a paid employee or as a volunteer (we’ll talk about a volunteer role in a different blog post as it brings with it its own unique set of considerations).
Whether as a paid or volunteer role, the function is the same:
Gain understanding and create access: ‘connect’ and ‘link’
– “Spend time understanding clients’ individual situation, needs and aspirations and then
– Help them to access community based support and activities (e.g. peer support groups, debt counselling, housing assistance, etc.) and to utilise their own skills and experience through volunteering.
– The expectation is that this type of support will help people be well and independent in the community, thereby, in time, reducing demand on primary and secondary care services and preventing the escalation of need.” (source: Wigan Community Link Worker (CLW) service)
Click below for links to key documents or sites that may be of interest.
· Improving population health: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/what-does-improving-population-health-mean
· Wigan-CLW-service-evaluation: http://www.innovationunit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wigan-CLW-service-evaluation.pdf
· Social prescribing: what is it?: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-prescribing