It has been a little over a year since the Bevan Unit, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA) in partnership with Salford Council, opened its doors. The 60-bed intermediate care unit, located near the Salford Care Organisation hospital site on Stott Lane, helps patients regain their mobility and independence before they safely return home after a stay in hospital.
We went back to see how things were going and learn more about the amazing work everyone is doing to get the people in their care back on their feet and home to finish their recovery.
What is Intermediate Care?
Intermediate care is part of the process to get people out of the hospital and home safely with the support they need for their recovery.
The people residing in the Bevan Unit are there because they aren’t quite ready to return home and it wouldn’t be safe for them. The team at the Bevan work closely with each person to ensure they are getting the support they need to eventually be strong enough to go home.
This support can come in many forms, including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and social care as well as help from a flow coordinator, dietary staff, falls team staff and an activity coordinator.
The Bevan Unit, as with other integrated care units throughout the NCA, work closely with our partners out in the community. The unit received funding from Salford Council to open and by working with social care, the voluntary sector, care homes and housing they are ensuring that people return home with the support they need to stay there.
By having a place for people who need a bit more time to go to in between the hospital and going home, we can free up hospital beds for those with more immediate need, especially at a time when hospital waiting lists continue to grow across the country.
All the intermediate care units across the NCA stay connected via a newly formed forum, the Intermediate Care (IMC) Collaborative. This forum helps ensure that resources and best practice are shared and that teams can support and ensure shared learning and quality improvement initiatives are standardised across the NCA.
“The IMC Collaborative has been a real gamechanger for us,” said Carol Smith, Lead Nurse.
“It allows us to link in with our colleagues across the NCA to get a better understanding of the challenges across each of the areas, where there are potential bottlenecks in the system and where we can support each other.”
Within the unit a number of teams are involved in helping people get their mobility and independence back after a stay in hospital.
The nursing team ensures that all health and clinical needs are taken care of so that people are well enough to manage at home. The nursing team will work with the rest of the unit’s teams to assess the person’s needs and develop the correct package of care that will help them recover at home.
Mobility is important when preparing to return home. The physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams work to ensure that patients feel more confident moving about and performing daily tasks to make their return home a safer one.
Kirsty Kellett, Physiotherapist said of their work,
“We try to meet with each patient in the unit three to four times a week to ensure that they are continuing to practice their mobility as this is key to their safe return home.
“It’s so rewarding to see the improvement in the people we work with, many patients often go from not being able to get out of bed or walk, to walking confidently either with an aide or without.”
Before a person is set to go home, an occupational therapist will visit their home with them to assess how mobile they are in their own environment. Depending on the outcome, the therapy teams will work with the person to either continue to work on their strength or they will put plans in place to prepare for their return home. If any equipment or mobility supports are needed, the occupational therapist will arrange for this to be in place before they get home.
Alongside the therapy teams, the Activity Coordinator also helps patients with their mobility and getting them back on their feet. They work with the therapy teams to plan daily and weekly activities to keep the people staying in the Bevan engaged and active. These can include, playing games like bingo or a bean bag toss, crafting, movie nights and dinners together. It can also include simple things like reading or watching television with a patient or simply having a brew and a chat.
Activity Cordinator Chantelle said, “I always try to go in and at least say hello and goodbye to every person in the unit at the beginning and end of my shift. I find it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to someone’s experience and mood.”
“Sometimes, it’s just taking 20 min out of the day to watch television and have a brew with someone. One of the patients told me that I’d made their day, just by watching a bit of Tipping Point with them and having a chat and they asked if I could come back again tomorrow. I love seeing how much someone’s mood can change by simply giving them a bit of my time.”
Arranging to go home
Getting home is only part of the battle, once someone is home, they need to continue their recovery and, in most cases, will need further support.
At the Bevan Unit, the Home First Flow Coordinator is available to help coordinate the needed reablement and packages of care, make the appropriate referrals for social care and community support, work with care home managers to understand what they need to prepare for the return of a resident and arrange for PCR and any other tests needed before someone leaves.
All of this is in addition to the day to day needs of the people in the Bevan Unit, which means a lot of people are working together to make sure that people are getting better and getting home.