Excellent care closer to home

Monday 24 December 2012

Patient Dennis Richardson sitting in a wheelchair being observed by a nurse

Two innovative community services that have helped over 1000 local people avoid the need to be admitted to hospital, or led to shorter hospital stays, have received extremely positive feedback from patients.

87 per cent of Home ward patients and 81 per cent of people using the Enhanced Rapid Response service described their care as excellent or very good.

Launched in January 2012 and run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ community health team, Home ward and the Enhanced Rapid Response service have helped Lambeth and Southwark residents continue their treatment at home and avoid unnecessary hospital stays.

Home ward is available to patients living in Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Norwood in Lambeth and Bermondsey and Rotherhithe in Southwark. The scheme helps people with a range of illnesses - including diabetes, heart disease or severe breathing problems - who have been referred by their local GP or hospital consultant.

Ese Umukoro, Home ward matron and a community nurse for 18 years says: “Our specialist training means that we treat patients safely at home in much the same way as we would treat a patient in hospital.”

“At this time of year patients with respiratory problems, for example, may find themselves in and out of hospital. But thanks to Home ward they can continue their treatment at home.”

The Home ward team includes a matron, specialist community nurses, GPs, pharmacists, rehabilitation support workers and administrators who provide intensive support to meet patient needs, seven days a week.

Seventy-one-year-old Dennis Richardson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital because of a severe chest infection and difficulty moving around. With the support of the Home ward team he was able to leave hospital early and to continue receiving treatment at home, including the support of a physiotherapist.

He says: “Instead of spending days in hospital when I really didn’t need to, I was able to be cared for at home by the excellent community team under the Home ward scheme.”

“I received fantastic care in my own home and I was able to recover much quicker. This helped me and my family, who cared for me once the treatment was over. I couldn’t have wished for better care.”

The Enhanced Rapid Response service provides short-term rehabilitation support, such as intensive physiotherapy, to people living in Lambeth and Southwark. The programme helps people to live independently so that they avoid long stays in hospital or prevent a hospital admission. The majority of clients are vulnerable elderly people living alone who may have become less mobile, sometimes because of a fall. The service treats patients within two hours of their referral and for up to six weeks and is available 7 days a week.

The excellence of theEnhanced Rapid Response service has also been recognised at the Trust’s annual awards ceremony as the team were presented with the community services award.

Angela Dawe, Director of Community Health Services said: “I’m delighted that patients are seeing the benefit of our home care service. If they can be treated professionally and quickly at home, without the need for an unnecessary stay in hospital that has to be the best outcome for our patients.”

“Since community services transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’ in April 2011, the Trust has been committed to developing new ways of caring for patients in the community, which we believe is consistent with best practice and the most appropriate and efficient way to deliver care for many of our patients.”


Last updated: December 2012

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