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Health chiefs are helping people affected by strokes beat the credit crunch with a free, innovative money advice service.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has launched a Stroke Money Advice Pilot for people affected by stroke, including not only patients, but also carers and families.
Claire Shields, Senior Health Promotion Officer with NHSGGC’s Acute Planning Health Improvement Team, said:
“If the person who suffers a stroke is also the main breadwinner for a family, this can lead to financial hardship and anxiety during what can be a lengthy period of rehabilitation and recuperation, and a negative impact on the patient’s recovery.”
The new service points patients and families in the direction of specialist community-based financial help, and offers general advice over the telephone, as well as hospital and home visits.
One stroke patient said: “Having money advice at an early stage would be very helpful. The stress of how you are going to pay your bills such as, mortgage, council tax and electricity can affect your recovery.
“It is very important in the early rehabilitation stages to focus on getting better. Having a positive attitude to your recovery is very important and expending energy being anxious about money does not help!”
Specially trained staff will sympathetically discuss with the patient their financial situation and once a referral has been made, a money advisor will assess the patient’s short and longer term money needs and arrange help.
Claire Shields added: “Tackling financial exclusion has the potential to reduce health inequality and social factors which can impact on ill-health.
“Short-term support can prevent any catastrophic events from taking place, such as being taken to court, accounts being suspended, or someone losing their home.
“Long-term needs can include maximising income, benefit claims, re-organising finances and general financial capability support.”
Notes to Editors:
In the first two weeks of operation this stroke financial inclusion service has received eight referrals which have led to five home and three hospital visits.
Invariably patients will ask questions such as -
· Can I afford my mortgage payments?
· Will I be able to meet household costs?
· Can I claim insurance on loans and credit cards?
· Will I get help with my rent?
· Am I entitled to any benefits or tax credits?
In most cases the uncertainty and confusion caused by money worries is worse than the reality and any difficulties can be addressed with some help and advice.
The money advice service is confidential and provides assistance on
· Or any other money issue
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.