Special beds can keep patients nearer home and community

Sycamore Hall extra care facility, Bainbridge

By Betsy Everett

A pilot project in Bainbridge to provide short-term care for patients not ill enough to go in to hospital and not well enough to go home, has now been rolled out across the region.

The first so-called step up, step down, room was opened at Sycamore Hall, the extra care facility in the Yorkshire Dales village, last November.

It recently won an award for staff excellence from North Yorkshire County Council, and has proved so successful that seven more have followed in Hambleton and Richmondshire.
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The beds were introduced following a consultation by the clinical commissioning group responsible for buying services in the region.

Janet Probert, chief officer of the CCG, told a meeting recently there was a strategy to provide extra support in the local community, and the step up, step down, facility was proving popular.

GPs use them, and Dr James Dunbar, a consultant at the Friarage Hospital, also assesses patients to see if they can be cared for in one of these smaller units.

“They can also be used for end of life care for those who want to be looked after within their own community, but for whom home, for one reason or another, isn’t suitable,” said Ms Probert.

Janet Probert, chief officer at NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group.

The beds are generally available for up to six weeks to deliver care closer to home and can also be used for those needing rehabilitation or to prevent unnecessary use of an acute hospital bed. Care is managed by teams of health and social care professionals, working in partnership with local GPs.

Other beds are now available in Bedale, Brompton, Leyburn, Stokesley, Sowerby and Thirsk. All provide private, self-contained accommodation with a bedroom, bathroom, living room and small kitchen. All sites have a telemedicine service to allow staff to access speedy medical advice from other NHS sites.

A video produced by the CCG showing the facilities at Sycamore Hall is here: