READING Borough Council has partnered with the Holiday Inn Reading South to help residents leave hospital as quickly as possible.
The Council has teamed up with the local hotel to create new care facilities for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. The aim is to free up as many NHS beds as possible and to help ease the pressure on the healthcare system.
Working closely with the hotel manager, the Council has converted 30 of the South Reading hotel’s rooms into short-term care beds. The Council has also partnered with care agency Care 1st Homecare to help deliver the service.
The temporary hospital discharge service offers an extra resource to support people with care needs who cannot immediately return home after a hospital stay. For example, if a person needs extra support with personal care but their care package cannot be started immediately, or if there are practical issues with their home that need to be resolved – anything which would hold the person in hospital whilst they are fit to leave.
The Council’s hospital-based team is now referring people into the service at the hotel. So far 10 beds have been freed at the Royal Berkshire and local community hospitals and 7 people are currently supported at the hotel. The Council’s adult social care team is on-site 7 days a week and newly discharged hospital patients are supported by carers 24/7. Three of the ten people supported at the Holiday Inn so far have already been able to return home.
Although the hotel is not specifically for Covid-19 patients, in the light of the outbreak, safety measures have been put in place at the hotel and care staff are resourced with appropriate personal protective equipment.
The hotel is the second new discharge service commissioned by the Council in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Council has also partnered with River View Care Centre in west Reading for people who are well enough to leave hospital but have residential or nursing needs. So far 19 people have been placed at the centre for recovery, with 11 still being supported there.
Cllr Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, said: “We know that many people are well enough not to be in hospital, but still have care needs preventing them from returning home straight away. Now, more than ever, it is vital we work with our partners in the NHS to enable people who are well enough to leave hospital as soon as possible.
“We have proactively sought out new ways and new partners to enable us to achieve this additional care resource at such a crucial time. The Council’s speedy response to the Covid-19 crisis in setting up these new services with partners has been incredibly successful and has made a big difference in easing the burden on the NHS.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to our partners at the Holiday Inn, who have worked with us so supportively to make this happen, to our other invaluable partners from the care agency Care 1st Homecare and at Riverview Care Centre for the resources they are providing.
“I am very proud of all the Council staff who have pulled together to put this new care option in place and to those who continue to work tirelessly on the frontline ensuring our most vulnerable residents get the care they need to recover.”
Gagan Kumar, General Manager at the Holiday Inn Reading South M4 J11, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Reading Borough Council and supporting the NHS and our local community with this vital service. It’s been a pleasure to welcome our new guests and their care teams to the hotel.”
Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is another great example of partnership working within the local community to do all we can, in partnership, to keep patients safe and supported once they leave our care in hospital.
“The coronavirus outbreak has put huge demands on all our medical services over the last few weeks, and initiatives like this one are key to ensuring the smooth running of hospital services, freeing up beds for emergency patients and helping ease the relentless pressure on our teams.”
Shaun and Mandy are two of our keyworkers on the front line helping vulnerable residents to move out of hospital as quickly as possible:
Shaun Rogers is the assistant team manager in the Council’s hospital-based team. Shaun has worked in adult social care for 20 years, and currently works alongside a team of social workers, care coordinators and occupational therapists, across several local hospitals.
Shaun and his team provide the vital link between the patients in hospital and their journey out. Top of the team’s agenda is to get people home as quickly as they can if it is possible – but in cases where that is simply not an option, into a temporary supported care setting, or now during Covid-19, with the option to go to the new discharge care facilities at the Holiday Inn and at River View Care Centre.
Shaun spoke of one vulnerable resident, with a long history of self-neglect, who was in hospital following a period of treatment: “It was not safe for him to return home until his house had been deep-cleaned, which we organised. While he was waiting for the deep-clean to be completed, we moved him temporarily to the Holiday Inn for a few days. This freed up the hospital bed and allowed him to transition back to his own home as quickly as possible. We also worked with local charities to ensure he had new clothes and food parcels waiting for him on his return.”
Another local resident who was admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital following shortness of breath and concerns surrounding her safety at home was helped to leave via the Holiday Inn. Once her health had been assessed and she was well enough to leave hospital, she was moved to the Holiday Inn to allow her flat to be deep-cleaned. This not only helped her out of hospital as quickly as possible, but also meant the hospital bed was freed 8 days earlier than it would otherwise have been. At the hotel, she was struggling to transfer or walk. The team there provided her with a four-wheeled walker and she benefited from regular mobility practice with carers. Her carers also encouraged her to regain her confidence with everyday activities like making a cup of tea. At the end of her stay, she walked onto her transport home, returned to a clean house and with a care package in place to support her going forward.
Shaun’s colleague, Mandy Khankhana, a senior social worker in the team said: “Each day is a challenge, it has been incredibly emotional at times and the level of work changes on a daily basis – but we have all have stayed committed and have supported each other to get through the toughest times. We all have great working relationships with our NHS healthcare colleagues and we will always go the extra mile just to ensure the person leaves hospital and has appropriate care provision in place to support them. We have had to adapt our usual way of working whilst ensuring the patient remains at the heart of everything we do.”
Although it has been a particularly challenging time for the team, Shaun and Many are proud of the work their team is doing facilitating timely hospital discharges for people, at how well they have all risen to the challenge and just how passionate they all are at putting individuals first.