Kettering General Hospital has launched an alternative way of caring for some clinically stable hospital patients.
The KGH Care at Home initiative was launched at the beginning of February and has already helped 59 patients to be supported outside of hospital.
KGH’s aim is to look after 28 patients at any one time in their own home (or care home) each month with specialist medical and therapy provided by a company called Healthcare at Home, which specialises in supporting hospitals across the country.
Rather than staying in a hospital bed – or in some cases being admitted to one – patients would be able to go home and receive the same kind of care they would get in hospital but in an environment which is more comfortable for them.
The initiative is already operating successfully in other parts of the country and it has the benefits of freeing up more hospital beds for emergency patients and providing care in a more comfortable environment for patients.
Kettering General Hospital’s chief operating officer Rebecca Brown said: “We are all really excited about the launch of this service.
“We know that most patients would rather receive treatment in their own home in a way that lets them get on with their lives, rather than having to be treated in hospital.
“This also helps them to get well sooner so they can be discharged from hospital care more quickly.
“Not only does this help patients return home safely sooner than they would have been able to, it will also help ensure we have more beds available for acutely ill patients.”
While being looked after by the service patients will remain under the care of their hospital consultant.
They will only be discharged from the service by a KGH doctor when they are medically fit and have appropriate community support.
Andrea Chalke, from Wellingborough, returned home from a seven-day spell at Kettering General Hospital on March 27 after having had a knee replacement removed because of an infection.
The operation meant her mobility was affected and she needs daily intravenous antibiotics to fight the infection to enable a second knee replacement to be carried out.
She said: “The KGH Healthcare at Home scheme is fantastic, really amazing.
“I am the sort of person who doesn’t like being in a place like a hospital for a long time – I like to be in a familiar environment with my creature comforts.
“When I heard about the chance to be looked after at home I jumped at it.
“If I have any concerns I can phone or email for support.
“The Healthcare at Home team come in and see me every day and deliver the antibiotics and help me with other tasks because of my reduced mobility.
“The care you receive is fantastic and I have been very impressed with the scheme.”
On leaving hospital Healthcare at Home provides the patient with the necessary individualised nursing, therapy or healthcare support they require.
There is daily contact between the company and hospital clinicians.
Patients receiving the service also benefit from 24/7 access to a nurse-led telephone support service called the Healthcare at Home Care Bureau.
If the patient’s condition begins to deteriorate they can be transferred back to KGH for further assessment and treatment.
The KGH Care at Home Service is optional and patients can decline it.
Before a patient is taken on by the service they are assessed by KGH’s multidisciplinary ward team of doctors, nurses and therapists and an individualised care plan is agreed with Healthcare at Home.