People living with a long-term condition

What does Bridges do?

  • Bridges is dedicated to making a difference to the lives of people who live with long-term conditions.
  • We work with health and social care teams to define and deliver best practice in self-management support.
  • Self-management support is a way of working. It means supporting people with long-term conditions in managing their condition and living well.
  • This means providing support where it is needed. But also working together to enable people to do the things that are important to them and their families.
  • We train professionals in health and social care teams to put your needs first and work with you to find ways around any problems to achieve your goals and plans. This self-management approach can be used regardless of what type of condition you have or where you are e.g. in hospital or at home.
  • Our work is primarily with health and social care teams through our training courses, but we also produce self-management books and resources for staff to give to those they are working with.

Who are the Bridges team?

The Bridges team brings together people with experience in healthcare, social care, research, education, organisational management, and graphic design. Most importantly, our work involves and is shaped by people living with long-term conditions. We take pride in our ethos of listening to and working in partnership with people. People who live with long-term conditions can contribute to Bridges, for example by sharing experiences of living with a long-term condition, or by joining the Bridges advisory group.

For more information about Bridges or getting involved with any of our projects please click here or contact us at info@bridgesselfmanagement.org.uk / +44 (0)20 8725 2445.

I have a long-term condition. How can I benefit from Bridges?

The Bridges team do not work directly with people who live with long-term conditions. Instead, we work with health and social care practitioners, for example nurses, therapists, support workers, doctors and social workers. We give training courses and workshops, and practitioners then use Bridges in their everyday work with people. We also produce materials, for example our books for people living with long-term conditions. If the practitioner you work with has been to Bridges training, they will be able to use Bridges to support you in your self-management.

I would like to try Bridges. How can I find a practitioner who works in this way?

Over the past 10 years, 1500 practitioners across the UK have attended Bridges training. We have also organised some training overseas, for example in New Zealand and Australia. We do not hold a public register of practitioners who attended Bridges training. But we can let you know if healthcare teams in your area are using Bridges and we can send you further information about what we do.

Useful contacts

Below, we have listed UK organisations and resources that were recommended to us by people living with long-term conditions, and some of these might be useful to you. Invariably we will have failed to include some useful organisations and resources in this list. We did not intend to favour one over the other, and we apologise to any organisation that is not included here.

We included only few charities and organisations dedicated to supporting people with particular health conditions here, because there are many. For example Parkinson’s UK, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Spinal Injuries Association, and so on. You will be able to find out details on the internet or with the help of a family member, friend or professional.

The information given here is up to date as of September 2015. We are aware that organisations change and that many new groups and initiatives are set up, so we apologise if you find that any of these details may have changed.

Stroke Association

Stroke Association is a large national charity offering support and advice for people who had a stroke and their family members and carers.
www.stroke.org.uk
Tel – 0303 3033 100

Headway

Headway (the Brain Injury Association) is a large national charity providing information, support and services to survivors of a head injury, their families and carers.
www.headway.org.uk
Tel – 0808 800 2244

Speakability

A national charity supporting people with aphasia, through an information service, publications and a national network of support groups and activity programmes.
www.speakability.org.uk
Tel – 0808 808 9572

Age UK

Age UK is a large national charity working to improve life for older people who face challenges with care, illness, isolation and finance. Services are available to people aged 50 and over.
www.ageuk.org.uk
Tel – 0800 169 6565

Carers UK

An independent national charity providing support for carers. A carer is somebody of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without their help due to illness or disability.
www.carersuk.org
Tel – 0808 808 777

User-led organisations for disabled people

There are a number of national and local user-led organisations and groups, which provide information, advice and support, to empower disabled people to have a voice, take control of their lives and be treated equally. User-led means these organisations are run by disabled people for disabled people. Some examples are:
National Council on Independent Living: www.ncil.org
Disability Action Alliance: www.disabilityactionalliance.org.uk
Action on Disability: www.actionondisability.org.uk

NHS Choices

NHS Choices is the government’s online resource for information about your health, local National Health Service (NHS) services and information on care support.
www.nhs.uk

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS provide confidential advice and support to help you sort out any concerns you may have about the care provided through the National Health Service (NHS).
www.nhs.uk

Healthwatch UK

Healthwatch gives local people, communities and organisations a say in the planning and delivery of health and social care services. You can get involved and contribute your views and experiences, so that the local services can be continually improved.
www.healthwatch.co.uk
Tel – 03000 68 3000

Samaritans

This charity runs a 24/7 helpline if anything is troubling you. They listen to your concerns off the record. Just having someone to talk to that isn’t family or friends can be helpful. You don’t have to be suicidal.
www.samaritans.org
Tel – 0845 790 9090

Turn2us

Turn2us is a charity that helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. Turn2us offer support online, over the phone and face to face.
www.turn2us.org.uk
Tel – 080 8802 2000