Published: Friday, 21st May 2021
A third District Direct project has begun this May following the success of two collaborative projects between the borough council and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust.
The first project was a collaboration with the council's Integrated Housing Adaptation Team (IHAT) and the hospital to help patients and staff identify early on any barriers to discharge from the hospital. This has proven to enhance the wellbeing of the patient who is then able to convalesce at home. The project also helps contribute towards reduced hospital stays and patient readmission. Since it launched in June 2017, over 400 bed days have been saved at the QEH. 22% of the total referrals have been homeless patients creating positive outcomes to those who could have remained undetected and remained homeless had they not been identified by the service.
At the start of 2021 a second partner project with IHAT was piloted. Working together with the hospital patients were identified where an orthopaedic operation had been cancelled or delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Those patients aged over 70 with impaired mobility were offered minor adaptations to their homes to keep them safe and reasonably mobile whilst they awaited surgery. Adaptations offered included grab rails, stair rails, lever taps, perching stools and half steps.
100% of people surveyed after they had received the service said that they were happy with the works and believed they had helped prevent slips, trips and falls making them feel safer in their own homes. Clients were delighted at being contacted ahead of their surgery in this way, and found the additional signposting to services such as assistive technology or financial advice really helpful.
The third project is similar to the second with the activity being opened up to anyone over the age of 60 who is awaiting orthopaedic surgery. This additional project is a direct result of the positive effect the previous collaborations have had.
Cllr Sam Sandell, new Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member, said: "We have been working collaboratively with the hospital for some time. The pandemic has really highlighted the need for this approach to supporting people. By intervening early and understanding the issues people may have, we can make adaptations to properties which make is easier and safer for people to keep living there, or to convalesce at home. We are finding that patients have more confidence post-operatively if they know that measures are in place to help them move safely around their own home. It is well documented the people generally recover more quickly if they can be in their own home. The additional benefit of this is that it frees up beds in the hospital. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the hospital on this and other projects.”