Home is often the best place to receive care and recover from illness, and a new Southern DHB initiative is helping to make this a reality for more patients.
Patients recover quicker when they are in the familiar surroundings of their own home and have a much greater chance of regaining their independence.
Now, a newly launched Home Team service in Dunedin means more patients will be able to be cared for at home rather than in hospital, and those already in hospital who are medically well enough to leave, will be able to continue their recovery at home with ongoing support.
Comprised of nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and rehabilitation assistants – the Home Team provides appropriate and coordinated support. This enables patients to leave hospital sooner – or not be admitted at all – and to recuperate and recover at home.
The team works with other hospital and community-based healthcare services to ensure the appropriate level of care and therapy is provided, whether in the short or longer-term.
The service can also be made available to those still at home, enabling them to avoid hospital admission.
Southern DHB Executive Director Strategy, Primary and Community Lisa Gestro says the DHB is delighted to launch the new service:
“The Home Team is a truly patient focused initiative. It brings health care services to where patients live and better integrates services and providers across the health system – including specialist care, general practice, home care, district nursing, rehabilitation services, pharmacy, needs assessment, ED and inpatient wards.
“The initiative is an excellent example of the Primary and Community Care Strategy in action – valuing our patient’s time, supporting people to stay at home, if that is the right place for them to be, and making best use of the considerable skills of health professionals across the health system.”
Patients will receive all the care and support they need from the Home Team for up to two weeks, and those requiring support and services longer term will be referred to other community services and providers. Through ‘skill-sharing’, any team member will be able to provide core services and support to ensure that patients’ needs are met with one provider where possible.
“We know recovery happens much faster at home because it’s more comfortable and familiar. At home, patients are likely to get up and be more active than in hospital meaning less loss of mobility, fitness and muscle strength. The calmer environment of home also helps recovery.
“The Home Team enables patients to go home and still receive the care they need, once they no longer need to be in a hospital,” says Southern DHB Nursing Director, Strategy, Primary and Community Sally O’Connor. “Hospital staff can then be freed up to look after people who are acutely unwell and need that more intensive, specialised level of care.”
In Dunedin the service will be seven days a week with extended hours in the evening. All referrals will have access to a dedicated 0800 number. The Home Team service will commence in Invercargill in the New Year.
The Home Team service ties in with other initiatives to support older people to return home, and stay well at home including Home as my First Choice, the ‘Sit up, Get Dressed, Keep Moving,’ initiative and the Live Stronger for Longer programme.
*Photograph of Home Team staff members