Long Term Conditions Community Outreach

Research shows that 23% of Croydon residents live with two or more long term conditions (LTCs) such as Diabetes, Hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people being at higher risk of developing LTCs at a younger age. When left untreated these conditions can lead to complications, highlighting the importance of providing support to people living with or at risk of an LTC. 

Empowering those with LTCs to manage their health effectively can support a better quality of life. That’s why the NHS in Croydon is working in partnership with the Croydon BME Forum and the Asian Resource Centre Croydon to deliver health screening and awareness services.

The partnership launched in 2020 to deliver two holistic support programmes: The Expert Patient Programme and The Community Outreach Programme, with hopes to raise awareness of LTCs with people who do not regularly access GPs or local NHS services.

A health check stand in Croydon

We sat down with Programme Co-ordinator, Lizzie Hewitt who shared more about the partnership.

What is the Expert Patient Programme?

“The Expert Patients Programme is a free 6-week course for Croydon residents living with a long-term health condition including Hypertension, Diabetes, COPD, Asthma, Cancer or Long Covid. The course is designed the course to support people with LTCs to boost their health and wellbeing, find solutions to common health problems and empower people to feel more confident about managing their condition.”

How is the course delivered?

“Our sessions (currently virtual) are delivered by tutors with lived experience of a LTC who provide both practical and empathetic advice to participants. We’ve found that this dynamic allows participants to identify with their tutors through shared experiences, which creates a comfortable space free of judgement.”

What can Croydon residents learn?

“Our practical techniques and tips are delivered to complement care people already receive from health services. We make people aware of the resources and services available within their area, along with advice on how to manage their symptoms, stress, healthy living and any feelings of anxiety and depression.

We understand that engaging with health professionals can be difficult for some, so we also coach residents how to effectively communicate at their appointments to ensure their needs are met.”

Photo: EPP participants taking part in chair exercises during class

Peer support

“We’ve seen the development of peer support networks between participants that last beyond the duration of the course. This is great as it creates a local network where people motivate each other and also offer support to people who feel anxious or isolated.”

The Community Outreach Programme

Raising awareness

“Working closely with Croydon community groups, the Community Outreach Programme delivers health screening to support early diagnosis and self-management for at risk groups. Through our community events the programme raises awareness of LTCs and trains Health Champions to advocate for healthy lifestyles within their communities.”

The importance of health screening

“Our health screening service helps to identify risk of conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension and mild heart abnormalities. Since our launch we’ve delivered nearly 350 health checks to Croydon residents where we’re able to screen for these conditions and sign post residents for further investigation when needed.”

How does the Community Outreach programme support people with LTC?

“There are a high number of undiagnosed cases of LTCs in Croydon, so it’s really important for us to engage with those at risk and deliver preventative interventions where possible. We’ve been able to refer over 100 people for further treatment following our health checks, which really emphasises the importance of coming to get checked out.”

Health Champions

“We provide free, fully accredited training to local volunteers to enable them to become Health Champions. Our Health Champions are essential in supporting our health screening, sharing health information in the community and signposting people to health services. As pillars in the community, they’re integral to engaging with residents to understanding their needs and sharing them with us.”

Contact us

Register for a free Health Check with the BME Forum or ARCC

Become a Health Champion

Register for the free Experts Patients Programme with the BME Forum or ARCC

Join us at our upcoming community events

For more information, email: Lizzie.hewitt@arccltd.com

Phone: 07859 737 072

Web: www.arccltd.com