Slovak Roma Case Studies

Health Trainer referral

A Slovak Roma woman in her 40s was referred to our Health Trainer by a physiotherapist. Her health conditions were: chronic pain (back and spine), depression and anxiety.

Our Health Trainer worked with her to address her conditions with support from a Slovak-speaking Health Link Worker.

The client was seen for more than the usual 6 sessions, to support her around changing behaviour – both diet and exercise, as well as how to manage pain (using the pain tool kit).
We accompanied her to Ponds Forge to do swimming and exercise, which she found interesting, and we also accompanied her for a couple of 10-15 minute walks.
We also signposted the client to the local advice service to support her with her benefits and also to IAPT.
Our Health Trainer, Eram, would often see this client in the waiting area of Highgate GP surgery, so we looked into her access to appointments. She began to see Eram in July, and in the time leading up to this she had a total of 17 appointments (January to July – 8 with a practice nurse, 9 with a GP).
From the beginning of August to end of the following January, she had a total of 7 appointments (1 with a practice nurse, and 5 with a GP). A decrease in appointments of 41%.

Client feedback

I would like to thank the physiotherapist for recommending and introducing myself to Darnall Well Being, and especially to Nikola who works for Darnall Well Being. They help me with everything, they support me all the time and they do really look after me. I am very pleased and happy about the service they provide and I really appreciate what they have done for me and my family. Nikola and Eram, the workers for Darnall Well Being, are amazing. They are working really hard and have supported me on every occasion. Supervised me when attending placements, guided me when using public transport, and introduced new services such as the advice centre in Tinsley giving me reassurance in my hardest times.

Finally, I would like to say a big “Thank you” to everybody who was involved for giving me hope for a better life. They have created new options in my life which I can use to be healthier. Now, I can hardly imagine what I would do without them. Probably, just sat at home with all the pain and frustration. However, they have helped me so much with my pain and I start to enjoy my life again. Also, I just say thank you all for your help and I can strongly recommend this service to other people because it is brilliant and it can change your life.

Mr & Mrs C

Mrs C was referred by a physio regarding losing weight and increasing exercise to help her with her health conditions particularly pain management. She has back and leg pain, and has had thyroid cancer which she has recently had removed.

Mrs C and her husband came to the first appointment made, then after I introduced myself and our service and how I could help Mrs C , Mr C was impressed and asked me if I could help him. Mr C (husband of Mrs C) wanted support with managing his health conditions also (tumour in his kidney, continuous cough and chronic pain).

Our Health Trainer worked with them together for more than 8 sessions, due to their complex needs. The Health Trainer explained the health trainer programme to them and emphasised the importance of setting goals that they want to achieve. Both clients wanted to be fit for work in the future as they said “we do not feel we have strength to do things, all time tired and worried”.
Both worried about their health and had thoughts of their cancer returning. Their motivation to change was their health conditions, which made them want to change their lifestyle by getting help and support from our Health Trainer.

Health Trainer used Eat Well Plate guide to explain portion sizes and healthy eating as well as eating more fruit and vegetables, cutting down fried food and change of high fat dairy to low fat. They also were given the 5 A Day booklet to use at home and translated healthy lifestyle tips into their language (Roma Slovak).

We used the Tool Pain Kit booklet to support both the clients to manage their persistent, chronic pain. Our Health Trainer discussed with them how the pain affected them on a daily basis, what they could they do to manage it, and what they thought they could change about their daily activities.

During the support period with us, it became apparent that Mr & Mrs C would benefit from additional support , so we referred them to:

• Age UK for housing and benefits.

• CAB for benefits.

• Cavendish Cancer care for cancer support.

• Macmillan for access to their small grant fund, which they successfully applied for and were able to use for clothing as well as a bed for the household.       

During the sessions with them both, our Health Trainer was supported by a health link worker who spoke their language and understood their culture. The health link worker also supported the couple when attending Cavendish Centre.
We feel this was a key part in making this work for the clients.

All the resources they were introduced to enabled them to feel in control of their illness and to make changes to their wellbeing:

  • Mrs C lost some weight and feels healthier.
  • They found the support they got from Cavendish Centre helped them a lot to cope with the pain and they felt better than before.
  • They both made changes to their lifestyle, so they now eat three regular meals a day, they eat fruit, and incorporate salad into their meals. They have reduced carbohydrates, such as bread, and also the amount of fizzy drinks they were having.
  • One of the biggest changes is that they now both walk regularly for 20 minutes a day. They are putting what they have learnt from the pain toolkit into practice: regular breaks, pacing themselves and stretching as part of the walk.

The couple found it a really useful service, as our team gave them time, listened to them and understood their needs. We were able to help them understand how things work, e.g. appointments (hospital and GP).

Mr and Mrs C expressed their gratitude:

Thank you, you have helped us a lot and my family also pleased, thank you for supporting us to make changes with small goals.

Mr & Mrs C