Newry.ie

An ‘Acute Care at Home’ service delivered by the Southern Trust is now available to older people in the Newry and Mourne area and is already proving popular.

The service is currently available to suitable patients in Newry City, Mayobridge, Hilltown, Rathfriland and Bessbrook with the next phase seeing the service extended to South Armagh and Kilkeel.

As the first Consultant Geriatrician led service of its kind in Northern Ireland, the team aims to respond to referrals from GPs, Northern Ireland Ambulance service and local hospitals within just a few hours.

Gerry McAleenan from Newry who has a chest condition has used the service on a number of occasions. He says: “I can’t thank the Acute Care at Home team enough as I would not be here if it wasn’t for them.  I have such confidence in the service and all the staff as they cared for me so well.  I have told my GP that I don’t want to go to hospital but to always be treated by the team.  My family are so grateful. The staff took the time to treat me, everyone was so professional and caring and I have never experienced anything like it.”

Gerry McAleenan and his wife Josie from Newry
Gerry McAleenan and his wife Josie from Newry

The team has the same access to diagnostic and laboratory services as in a hospital setting and can treat patients over the age of 65 with a wide range of acute illnesses in residential, nursing or patients own homes.   They also have  access to mobile diagnostic equipment to carry out scans, take blood tests or organise other diagnostic investigations and treat a range of conditions like  chest infections, pneumonia or dehydration in patients own homes.

The Acute Care at Home service has been expanding across the Southern area since it was originally set up as a pilot in 2014. To date it has prevented around 4050 hospital admissions and supported earlier discharge for over     1400 people.

The Lead Consultant Geriatrician for the service Dr Patricia McCaffrey explains:  “A hospital admission can be traumatic and disruptive for anyone, but particularly for an older person who may be less mobile, or for those who have dementia. Through the Acute Care at Home service, we are transforming the way we offer unscheduled care to our increasing number of older residents who are living with more complex needs. We hope that by offering high quality care their own home environment, we will promote a better quality of life for our older population, avoiding more stressful admissions to our very busy acute hospitals when it is safe to do so.”

The Acute Care at Home team includes Consultant Geriatricians, Speciality Doctors, Specialist Nurses, Staff Nurses and Health Care Assistants, Pharmacists , Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists  and  works closely with many other Community Services.

The service is funded by the Southern Local Commissioning Group and supported by the Southern Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs).

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