Over the last 10 weeks the Holdforth Unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool has made a number of innovations.
The unit has previously been used as a rehabilitation ward for patients who are staying in hospital – often for several days.
It has now become a central hub from where patients are cared for in their own homes and care homes.
Patients are only invited into the unit when the treatment they need can’t be performed out of the hospital.
Jaime Wheatley, deputy matron, said: “Many of our patients can get the treatment they need from their own living rooms – something which is a huge benefit at a time of social distancing and self-isolation.
“The team has thought innovatively about how we can create new pathways to help improve patient care.
“Patients who are not high risk can still visit the unit when appropriate. In a safe environment where they can still maintain social distancing.”
The team are able to visit people out in their homes and care homes to carry out treatment such as catheter removals, asthma injections and iron infusions.
When patients do need hospital treatment, the service has made changes so that these can be held at Hartlepool. Rather than at the University Hospital of North Tees. Which is a larger site also run by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
These include deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg or arm) and cellulitis reviews (a skin infection treated with antibiotics).
Jaime explains: “Our staff are in the unit, where they are ready to pick up referrals when needed. Then are quickly able to travel to patients.
“We are treating more patients and in a way which is safer for them.
“I’d like to thank the whole team for their dedication and commitment in helping create such a successful initiative.”