"Happily independent" - configuring the Gwent frailty support and wellbeing worker

Carolyn Wallace, Kevin Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This article aims to report on the configuration of the integrated Support and Wellbeing Worker (SWB) role in an innovative Gwent Frailty programme from 2009 until 2011. Design/methodology/approach - The health and social care Gwent Frailty programme used a configuration approach by adopting “frailty” as its unifying theme across the seven agencies involved. In order to configure this role, the Frailty Workforce Group (FWG) identified three tasks; staff engagement, identifying the SWB worker training needs, and scoping the employment options for the new role. Findings - For others facing the same challenges there are three key principles. The first is that having a unifying concept underpinned by the commissioned “Happily independent” study legitimately enabled the FWG to deliver on its three tasks identified by the Frailty Board. The second was that time spent on early staff and trade union engagement gave positive messages about their value within the role configuration. Finally, that developing an integrated role meant that core training and development had to be consistent so that registered staff were confident they could delegate safely. Originality/value - The number of articles on developing an integrated support worker role in health and social care is sparse. The value of this article is that it reports on the configuration of an innovative new integrated health and social care role working with frail people. This was based on what older people wanted from services in order to be “happily independent”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308 - 321
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • frailty
  • health and social care
  • support and well being worker


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