The Western Trust’s Acute Care at Home Team has reached a milestone of treating over 1,000 patients since its launch two years ago.
The service is delivered by a specialist team led by a Consultant Geriatrician and consisting of Specialty Doctors, a Pharmacist Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Nurses, Support Workers and clerical staff.
It provides the same access as patients would expect to receive in a hospital setting, allowing the team to be able to treat patients with a range of acute illnesses at home.
Patients can be referred to the service by their GP or the NI Ambulance Service, who will discuss with the team the best place of care to meet the specific needs of the patient. Referrals are also received from colleagues in Altnagelvin in order to facilitate an earlier discharge home for patients.
Dr. Bob Brown, Director for Primary Care and Older People at the Trust said: “The short-term acute service provides a ‘virtual ward’ in the patient’s home to treat their illness, avoiding admission to hospital or helping with an early discharge home from hospital.
“I would like to pay tribute to the Acute Care at Home Team for providing such a fantastic service in the local community. We know that a hospital admission can often cause stress and anxiety for patients, particularly those living with dementia and this service allows people to live independently for longer and, where possible, help avoid hospital admissions.”
Waterside man Hugh Lindsay was treated at home after falling unwell this year. He said: “Within an hour of visiting my GP, a Doctor and Nurse from the Acute Care at Home team had visited me in my own home. They did a full assessment on me, as if I was in hospital. Over a three-day period I got the care and medication I would of received had I of been in a hospital ward. I was also visited by a Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist. In essence I got my care at home, I received all the services that I would of done had I of been in hospital. I couldn’t praise the team high enough.”