A key focus of my role as one of Anchor’s Community Partnership Managers is supporting our retirement housing and care home managers to create beneficial links with other local professionals in the community and explore ways we can work together to tackle isolation and loneliness.

I’m based in the south of the country, and as a local girl who has worked in the care industry for many years, I’m well aware of the challenges faced by health care professionals working with older people in this region, and committed to helping improve the situation.
Back in early December 2014 I had the opportunity to meet the Placement Discharge Manager Tarina Tribe at Ashford & St Peters hospital in Chertsey. The hospital were very keen to see how the Anchor care homes in Surrey could help them.

Together we set about looking at how we could move things forward and focused of the contentious subject of so-called “bed-blocking”. Tarina highlighted that although patients become ready to be discharged from hospital every day of the week, many local care providers were only able to provide support assessments Monday to Friday, meaning older patients staying with them longer than necessary.

This was clearly largely down to staffing levels in care homes, and since we had identified that there was a real need for care home assessments to be able to take place at weekends, we devised a plan to address this with my Anchor District Manager for the immediate area, Edith Rushden.

We asked the Home managers and Care Managers at Anchor’s Heathside in Woking, Birchlands in Egham, Thameside in West Molesey, Linwood in Thames Ditton, Abbeywood in Aldershot, Glendale in Walton-On-Thames, Meadowside in Staines and Keswick in Leatherhead, to pilot a new working weekend rota which would see a manager on call to carry out rapid assessments as they arose. Tarina would be able to release a bed needed by another patient and the older person would be able to move into a more suitable environment more quickly, aiding their recovery.

The new rota commenced mid-December and has proved a great success so far. In just a few weeks we have been able to assess six people at the weekends and supported them all in their transition from hospital into our homes across Surrey more quickly.

I’m very proud of this example of joined up thinking and believe it goes to show how partnerships between different care services can really make a difference to the people that matter; the people needing our support.

Anchor’s care homes in the local area are ideally placed to help support the discharge of older patients with care needs from hospitals such as Ashford & St Peters hospital in Chertsey to a supportive environment.

Our teams recognise the challenges and pressures hospital wards and A&E departments face, and understand the importance of re-enabling individuals to achieve their independence. We also know that being in hospital can be a very stressful and anxious time for older people, and are pleased to help to reduce “bed blocking” and, most importantly, the amount of time older people spend unnecessarily in a hospital bed.

Jackie Cridlin is Anchor’s Community Partnership Manager for the south of England.

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