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Part of the neighbourhood near you

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 30/01/2014 14:26:37

Better care is now available for people living at home in the Canterbury, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Sandwich and Ash areas, thanks to the creation of ‘Neighbourhood Care Teams’.

Since April 2013, an estimated 2,200 people have been helped to receive health and social care in their own home by the teams. And many people have avoided the need to be admitted to hospital in a time of a ‘personal health crisis’.

The teams provide care for people who may be housebound as a result of illness or the after-effects of injury, who may have problems such as dementia or heart failure, or who may be in the final months of their lives.

In all, there are five ‘neighbourhood care teams’ comprised of staff from Kent Community Health NHS Trust’s community nursing teams, Kent County Council’s Adult Social Care Team, mental health services for older people and the voluntary sector.  These teams work closely with the patient’s GP to ensure patients receive the right services and support quickly to avoid an unnecessary admission to hospital.

The neighbourhood care teams are based in and around towns in the area, and aim to provide a more integrated health and social care service.  There were previously 17 individual community nursing teams, which could sometimes cause confusion for patients and GPs alike.

Previously, a patient may have received visits from a number of community teams and GPs would have to refer patients to a variety of organisations depending on the patients’ needs. The new setup now means patients only have to tell their health story once, and GPs only need to refer a patient to one team through a health and social care coordinator.

Dr Geoff Jones, NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group’s clinical lead for community services, said: “Neighbourhood Care Teams are all about making sure people receive the right care by the right person at the right time – improving the patient’s experience is fundamental to our work. The project has got off to a great start and couldn’t have been achieved without the hard work and dedication from all of the local health and social care staff involved, as well as key voluntary organisations. We hope the teams will continue to flourish.”

The Neighbourhood Care Teams bring together a range of skills and expertise, being  made up of social services care managers, district nurses, long-term conditions nurses, and specialist nurses - such as cardiac nurses and mental health nurses. Each team is able to support patients with a wide range of health and social care issues. 

Hannah Guy, lead clinical nurse in Herne Bay for Kent Community Health NHS Trust, said: “The Neighbourhood Care Teams have resulted in colleagues across health and social care working much more closely together. It is easier for them to share their skills and expertise and means less duplication and a better experience for our patients.”

Graham Gibbens, KCC cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “Neighbourhood care teams are a great example of how we are working more closely with our colleagues from health and the voluntary sector to provide people with better, more targeted health and social care. Having all the agencies working together in one team means that they can create a tailor-made care package which gives the patient all the support they need.”