Care homes in Sunderland are benefitting from an added layer of support, thanks to a programme that sees community-based NHS nurses provide specialist assistance to residents and the carers who look after them.
Part of All Together Better – a pioneering new service, that was set up to reshape care in the city, ensuring it caters for people who need it most – the team of community nurses provide visiting support.
The nurses – who visit each of the city’s care homes roughly once a week – are on hand to help staff manage illnesses or injuries effectively, spotting the early signs of health problems and putting in place the right care to treat the person and prevent their condition from worsening.
The service supports people living in residential, nursing and extra care homes. The aim of the service is to prevent people becoming unwell, but when they do, to quickly put in place the right intervention to stop them from becoming so unwell that they require hospital care.
Debbie Burnicle, deputy chief officer at Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The new care home nurse support was introduced after we looked at ways of targeting – and proactively supporting – those in the city with some of the most complex health and social care needs.
“We recognised very quickly that, with that added layer of medical support, we could not only provide greater support during times in which people’s needs become exacerbated, but we could also spot the warning signs and prevent them from becoming unwell in the first place.”
The nurses are also able to support residents, their carers and families to put in place emergency healthcare plans that can be followed if someone they look after becomes severely ill. The nurses work to understand the expectations and choices of each person they support, and can also help with end of life planning, to ensure that the wishes of the person can be taken into account.