Partnership working between Furness General Hospital (FGH) and St Luke’s Risedale Nursing Home in Barrow, to help ease the additional winter pressures on the hospital, has been hailed a success.

Under the arrangement, which started in January this year, patients were transferred from FGH to St Luke’s Risedale Nursing Home on a short term basis until their care packages were in place and they were ready to return to their own home.

Since January 2015, 61 patients have benefitted from being at St Luke’s. The arrangement has freed-up vital hospital beds for patients who are most in need – helping to ease the pressure on the hospital during the busy winter months to ensure patients get the best care for their needs

Carol Park, Assistant Chief Nurse for Acute and Emergency Medicine at FGH, said: ‘’Furness General Hospital, like most hospitals across the country, saw increased demands on our services this winter. We put a number of measures in place at Furness General Hospital to help deal with these additional pressures. We have worked closely with St Luke’s Risedale Nursing Home in Barrow and together we came up with an arrangement to help ease the pressures at FGH.’

Under the arrangements, patients who did not need to be in hospital, but were waiting for care packages, were transferred from FGH to St Luke’s on a short-term basis until their care packages were in place. Patients benefited from a quieter, more homely environment at St Luke’s and had easier access for family and visitors. Carol “ worked with ward managers, patients, their families and their social workers to identify which patients could be suitable to move to St.Luke’s short-term whilst the patients’ social worker continued their assessment. It is this sort of collaborative working that helped us make sure our patients didn’t have to spend longer than they needed to in hospital, and that they got the right support while they continued to recover outside hospital. “Nobody likes being in hospital, but a period of supported convalescence at St Luke’s offered this. It was better for these patients, and it allowed other patients, who needed more urgent hospital care to be admitted to Furness General Hospital more quickly. “We hope to be able to use the funds we receive from central government each winter from their additional winter pressures fund and run the scheme again later this year. We plan to start the arrangement with St Luke’s as early as November 2015”.

Jan Fielding, who recently retired from Barrow 6th Form College, where she worked as Vice Principle, said: “My 90 year old father recently had a serious chest infection, which resulted in a stay of several weeks at Furness General Hospital. The medical staff there were excellent in curing the infection but my dad was left very weak and quite confused. Dad’s social worker worked alongside my family to enable him to work towards returning home which was his preferred wish. To facilitate this he recently spent 2 weeks in the Peil Unit at St Luke’s Risedale Nursing Home. Whilst he was initially apprehensive about the move the staff were very reassuring to both him and the family and dad very quickly settled into what was a perfect environment for recuperation. The staff at St Luke’s were truly excellent and he received the very best of care from a team of professional and committed carers who were clearly interested in helping him improve his mobility, gain strength and confidence. During his time at St Luke’s he gained weight, became far more mobile and independent and lost much of the confusion he had been experiencing”.

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