“Being here in Hartlepool hospital with the whole team has transformed the care and support we can provide to our community.”
That is the view of staff from Hartlepool Borough Council who work closely with teams at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
The staff all work together as part of the integrated single point of access (iSPA) team.
The service, based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, make access to health and social care for adults in community a straight forward and simplistic process.
In their own words, they ensure patients have access to ‘right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time’.
The iSPA service was borne out of a need to deliver care, support and rehabilitation collaboratively with a collection of community partners, ensuring that the community has access to a co-ordinated health and social care pathway, appropriate to their needs.
Karen Flounders and Angie Caswell are principal practitioners, employed by Hartlepool Borough Council and working as part of the iSPA team.
Karen said: “One of the many advantages of being here with the whole team is the joined up approach.
“We can literally turn around and have a conversation with a colleague from the Trust, which aids communication in a multi-disciplinary setting, and ensures that we are making informed decisions on the responses required for each individual person / patient
“We are also able to share the same systems so we are in a fantastic position to help patients and support them home from hospital. Our joined up approach has massively reduced hospital discharge delays.
Angie added: “We also have staff based in North Tees Hospital who work within the discharge liaison team, this improves discharge planning for people, enabling people to get home safely and quickly and help prevent readmission
“Being here in Hartlepool hospital with the whole iSPA team has transformed the care and support we can provide to our community.”
The team includes experienced professionals from nursing, social care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and a mental health practitioner is due to commence working with the team. The service operates 7 days a week, 24hrs a day, to support people to be able to remain in their own homes or to return home from hospital following ill health
The iSPA supports across many areas including; community crisis response, bed-based intermediate care services, home-based intermediate care services, care homes and community nursing
Bob Warnock, senior clinical professional, said: “Because the team are all based in the same location, each referral that comes into the iSPA is discussed among the professionals so we can provide the very best care to patients. Working with our partners is so important – you can clearly see the benefit it has for our patients. By communicating so closely we ensure patients get the right response straight away, this cuts out all the duplication across different professionals so people don’t have to repeat their story multiple times. This greatly adds to the quality of an individual journeys through health and social care services”