Clinics that can mean difference between hospital or home
PORTADOWN woman May Sewell is one of hundreds of local people to benefit from a special clinic which prevents many elderly people from having to go into hospital.
And recently she met chief executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Mrs Mairead McAlinden during her visit to Lurgan Hospital to see at first hand how the service is working.
Mrs Sewell was recently referred to the Rapid Access Clinic by her GP, Dr Troughton, with mobility and breathing issues. Following her visit and assessment, she received a blood transfusion as an outpatient at Lurgan Day Hospital and will now be attending physiotherapy to improve her mobility.
Speaking about her experience of the clinic, she said, “Everyone was very kind, and the staff couldn’t be better. It was a clean place with nice food. It was very efficient and I was happy with the treatment.”
Dr Troughton of the Waterside Medical Practice, based in Portadown Health and Care Centre, said, “The Rapid Access clinic has provided an excellent service for our over 65 patients. This is a group of patients who can have complex medical needs. Something can easily tip the balance between being able to manage a patient at home and the patient ending up in hospital.
“Because of the ‘rapid access’ to the clinic, and the holistic assessment provided, Lurgan’s version of a ‘one-stop shop’ has enhanced the quality of care we offer to our patients.”
Since the clinics in Lurgan, Dungannon and Armagh were established four years ago, 1,450 people over the age of 65 have been assessed, with conditions seen including mobility problems, chest infections and falls. According to the trust, this has prevented 75 per cent of patients being admitted to hospital.
Following a GP referral, the person will be seen within one to three working days and if necessary can have investigations such as X-rays and blood tests with the results available on the same day.
Dr Karin Houston, speciality doctor, said “The Rapid Access Clinic at Lurgan Hospital is an initiative driven by Dr McCaffrey, lead consultant geriatrician. Our aim is to assess elderly people requiring a holistic assessment from a team of staff. This includes a medical and nursing assessment, and often a physiotherapist to assess mobility, an occupational therapist to assess functions such as cooking, dressing and personal care, and a social worker to assess any care needs if identified. Our speech and language therapist also assesses swallow and speech problems if required.”
Mairead McAlinden said, “The provides a local, responsive and very expert service which supports GPs and older people when there is a concern about a medical condition. The clinic provides a really thorough assessment by a range of clinical staff, and over the course of a few hours in a calm and friendly environment can provide a comprehensive plan of treatment and care.
“This often makes the difference between the GP or older person being confident enough to manage their treatment at home, or deciding to seek hospital treatment often in an emergency situation.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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