By Betsy Everett
A half-way house scheme between home and hospital, piloted in Bainbridge and rolled out throughout the region, may be adopted nationwide.
Richmondshire District Council will take the idea to SPARSE, a national grouping of 123 local authorities covering rural areas, which looks at best practice in medical care and works with a cross-party group of MPs at Westminster.
Councillor Yvonne Peacock, leader of the district council, said the so-called “step up, step down” beds helped ease the pressure on hospitals when caring for patients who were not well enough to go home, but not ill enough to be in hospital.
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The first one in the region was established in her home village of Bainbridge at Sycamore Hall, the extra care facility, a year ago. Since then eight more have been opened by the clinical commissioning group covering Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby.
“I want to take the idea to the national grouping of local authorities covering rural areas, as an example of best practice in caring for people in their own community. It means that they are nearer to friends and relatives and also have the support of the doctors and health professionals based at their local health centre,” said Cllr Peacock.
She was handing over a newly-acquired reclining chair, with Jane Ritchie, secretary of the Upper Dales Health Watch, to Jane Cairns, manager of the Sycamore Hall facility. It was paid for with a grant of £1,000 from the district council, plus a donation from the Elm House Trust, set up some years ago by Miss Ritchie.
“It means people who are discharged from hospital, who are used to being looked after all day, can get used to making a cup of tea, or a simple meal, for themselves while still having access to care,” said Miss Ritchie.
“It helps them achieve independence while still being supported. People have to be referred by their GP and the great benefit is that if you need to speak to your consultant you can be connected directly to the hospital,” she added.
Although the costs of the units are met by the local CCG, extra facilities such as television and decoration are funded by local charities, organisations and individuals, including, in the case of the chair, Milners of Leyburn. West Burton art group donated pictures for the walls in the Sycamore facility and the Bainbridge Millennium Fund helped towards rental for the special telephone line.