Support service for urgent care rolled out

Kirsten McDivitt, care manager; Alan Brown, mental health care professional; Audrey Knott, social worker; Maureen Evans, team manager; Susan Allen, occupational therapist; and Val Barrow, occupational therapist.
Kirsten McDivitt, care manager; Alan Brown, mental health care professional; Audrey Knott, social worker; Maureen Evans, team manager; Susan Allen, occupational therapist; and Val Barrow, occupational therapist.

A new service providing urgent support for people in a time of crisis is being rolled out across south east Northumberland following a successful pilot.

The Immediate Response Teams were first trialled across four GP surgeries in Morpeth and Bedlington.

Now it is being extended to include patients registered with GPs in south east Northumberland who do not have an existing care package or key workers.

The teams have been made possible through joint working across adult social care between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council.

A team provides support to enable people with a sudden illness, medical condition or change in circumstance who are at risk of hospital admission, to remain at home.

The team of community health and social care staff aim to make contact with the person in need within two hours of the first call for assistance, and can provide equipment to help someone move around their house, arrange emergency short term care support to enable them to remain at home, and help people to regain their confidence and independence.

Immediate response team social worker Audrey Knott said: “People feel more comfortable and are able to function better in their own environment, and often we are able to provide extra support or equipment to enable someone to get through a crisis and help them to remain safely in familiar surroundings.

“The majority of referrals come to us from GPs or district nurses’ home visits, when they have seen someone who is struggling and needs support.

“By having staff with a range of skills in the team – including occupational therapy, mental health care manager, social work and care management – we try and have the best combination of skills to meet the person’s needs on our first visit.”

To request assistance contact the Northumberland Adult Social Care Single Point of Access on (01670) 536400.

The team’s involvement lasts for a maximum of 72 hours, if longer term care is needed a key worker will be identified to discuss with patients their needs and co-ordinate any care and support.

Audrey added: “Sometimes our role is to explain what is available and organise some extra help to get people over a crisis situation.

“Most people prefer to remain living independently in the community and that is what the immediate response team strives to achieve.”