On 1 October the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (Trust) and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commenced a six-month trial of home-based care in Torrington.
This model is where patients are supported to live independently in their own homes, amongst family and friends by an enhanced team of community nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists as well as greater involvement from the voluntary sector. Currently 6000 people across Devon are being supported by similar teams, 200 of these live in Torrington.
In response to the wishes of the community, this six-month trial started in October with six inpatient beds remaining open in Torrington as a ‘safety net’.
The last patient was discharged on 19 November and as of the 22 November the inpatient beds will close to further admissions until the end of the six months.
Since 4 July 2013, there have been 5 admissions to Torrington community hospital. Over the last two years, admissions to Torrington have been declining by 15% a year.
Dr Chris Bowman said, “The home-based model of care continues to work well in Torrington.
“We will be closely evaluating the success or otherwise of this pilot/trial/test and had our first meeting of the Oversight Group on 18 November. This group consists of charities, councillors, Healthwatch, League of Friends, STITCH, North Devon District Hospital consultant and local NHS clinicians and managers and will meet regularly. The role of this group is to ensure that we collect sufficient data to demonstrate how well the model of care works, whether it meets the healthcare needs of the local community and whether it offers services which improve access and health and wellbeing.”
Kate Lyons, Director of Operations, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said, “We have closed the inpatient beds three days earlier than the full eight weeks. The last patient was discharged and we were facing the very real possibility of staff nursing an empty hospital in Torrington when we needed the staff to support inpatient services elsewhere in the Trust.”
No permanent decision about the long-term future of inpatient beds has been made and will not be made until we see the full evaluation report in April 2014.”
The staff deployed to Torrington to maintain the inpatient beds will return to their original places of work.
Kate Lyons, Director of Operations, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust said, “Whilst the evaluation period continues, we are still really keen to hear ideas from the community about the services we could offer from Torrington Community Hospital.
We are currently exploring the possibility of more outpatient clinics, day treatment services, chemotherapy, maternity, dementia and sexual health. Providing these services locally will mean local residents can avoid a trip to NDDH.”
Since the end of 2011, extra investment locally has seen more and more Torrington patients cared for at home by nursing and therapy teams, backed by support services such as night-sitting where needed. This means people can often come straight home from North Devon District Hospital or avoid admission altogether.
Some 180-200 people are now being cared for at home at any one time. As a result, inpatient admissions to the community hospital have fallen from an average of 12 a month in 2010/11 to 5.5 a month in the first half of 2013 (up to July 2013).
For further information and the latest updates, please continue to check online: