Pioneering scheme in Great Yarmouth will bring healthcare into patients’ homes

PUBLISHED: 12:24 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:24 27 November 2015

One of the 'beds with care' at Park House care home

One of the 'beds with care' at Park House care home


More people will be treated for conditions in their own homes, without the need to be admitted to hospital, when a pioneering new way of offering care in Great Yarmouth fully comes into effect next week.

Members of staff from Park House care home, with Sarah Boxer from East Coast Community HealthcareMembers of staff from Park House care home, with Sarah Boxer from East Coast Community Healthcare

The model bases care in patients’ communities with an out of hospital team - based at Northgate Hospital since September 1 - working with GPs and other community services so that care is tailored to local needs.

Sarah Boxer, manager of the new out of hospital team, said: “It’s a move toward a community based system, because of the increasing amount of people who need our services. But it’s also because people would prefer to be treated in their own home rather than go into hospital.”

Ms Boxer’s team of 62 is made up of nursing sisters, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, rehabilitation support workers and social workers. They are available 24 hours a day to take calls from healthcare professionals who have a patient who needs care, but whose condition may not need a stay in hospital.

The case is then assessed for severity, and the team respond within two hours for urgent care, or 24 hours for non-urgent care. They also offer advice and support to family and carers.

Northgate Hospital, Great Yarmouth. Picture taken from Google Street ViewNorthgate Hospital, Great Yarmouth. Picture taken from Google Street View

“We work really closely with other agencies,” said Ms Boxer. “And we also have a really good relationship with the A&E department at James Paget, where they call us and it stops people getting into the system.

“This works for things such an non-complicated infections, or social care breakdown, amongst others, where previously someone might have to have a stay in hospital they won’t have to now.”

However, in the few cases where patients do need inpatient care, they can be looked after in what is being called ‘beds with care’ in either Park House care home in Great Yarmouth or the Vineries in Hemsby.

Although the out of hospital team has been up and running since September, the beds with care will come into play on December 1, making the full raft of changes complete.

Case studies

Sarah Boxer, manager of the new out of hospital team, described some situations where the changes will benefit patients.

“One elderly patient we treated was suffering from dementia and had experienced recurrent falls at home,” she said.

“Her husband was unable to cope and she had lost confidence in her abilities.

“She was treated for a urinary tract infection and the occupational therapist provided the couple with new equipment to help them cope.

“Support workers visited daily to give the patient exercise provision and help her mobility. The social worker set up care to support the couple. The patient has now recovered and has regained confidence in her abilities.”

Another example given concerned the ‘beds with care’ scheme, for when care can’t be safely provided at home.

Ms Boxer described end of life care, which can be provided under the scheme.

Families would be in the more relaxed and calm setting of a room in a residential home.

The rooms are private, en-suite and vary in size according to the needs of the patient.

Along with this, families would not face the same visiting restrictions and protected meal times that are found in a hospital setting, and would be encouraged to visit at anytime. Often, in those final days, partners may wish to stay overnight with a loved one, which can also be accommodated.

For those who do use the ‘beds with care’ system, East Coast Community Healthcare who are delivering the changes, say it will be much more comfortable than a hospital stay. Visitors can come and go as they please without restriction, patients will be able to enjoy the activities on offer in the care homes during their stay, and will have private en-suite rooms.

Tom Lyons, operations manager at Park House, said: “We’re really excited to be working on what is a local, personalised service for those needing inpatient or pallative care. We’re here to support them, by getting them back home if possible or providing a calm and relaxing space for end of life care. It’s all about this being a short stay home from home.”

Clinical commissioning group HealthEast have said that once the new out of hospital services and local beds with care have been put in place and are up and running, there will no longer be a need for GP community beds at Northgate Hospital, and that unit will be closing.

The changes come after two extensive public consultations, known as shape of the system, which took place earlier in the summer and asked for views on making substantial changes to the way services are commissioned.

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