A letter from Sir Simon Steven’s, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS, was sent in March asking all NHS organisations to redirect staff and resources in preparation for the peak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A copy of the letter can be found at https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/urgent-next-steps-on-nhs-response-to-covid-19-letter-simon-stevens.pdf
Community services have supported the most vulnerable patients across the Bay including those that are shielding by carrying out telephone consultations.
They have also provided teaching packs for local carers and care homes and worked collaboratively with St John’s Hospice in Lancaster and St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston to support palliative and end of life patients to remain at home.
Gill Speight, Associate Director of Nursing for the Integrated Community Care Group, UHMBT, said: “Following Sir Simon Steven’s letter in March detailing national service priorities, some community services were stopped or partially stopped.
"This has allowed us to deploy staff whose services were stopped or reduced to our frontline teams, caring for the most vulnerable patients and providing us with a resilient workforce we otherwise could not have achieved.
“Alongside acute care colleagues, we are now looking to reinstate some of the services that were stood down using the lens that coronavirus gives us, referencing new ways of working as part of our Recovery and Restoration plan.
"Care Homes are currently the focus of support and we are working with Primary Care, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group and Adult Social Care to look at how we can enhance that offer alongside the development of the Frailty Coordination service.”
Agnieszka Payne, manager at Croftside Residential Care Home, Milnthorpe, said: “It has been a very difficult time for care homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Community team has been so helpful. Just knowing that we have the support, guidance and advice from our local team that is only a phone call away gives us the reassurance.
"The training delivered during this time made a big difference to how we care for our Service Users and has also given staff the confidence to attempt new ways of working.
"We have more to come and can’t wait for them to arrive.”
Other key achievements of Community services include promoting self-care such as switching patients to insulin pens to support informal and formal carers to administer, increasing the availability of access to Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist advice over seven days and providing telephone triage ahead of visiting to assure patient and staff safety.
They have even worked with local authorities to better support the care of homeless people across Morecambe Bay together with the Bay Health and Care Partners Integrated Care Communities to signpost them to help and support.
Patient feedback has included: “I will never be able to thank you enough for all your help with my Gramps in his final weeks.”
“The Rapid Response Team is incredible. Thank you for looking after my father-in-law.”
Kate Maynard, Interim Chief Operating Officer, UHMBT, said: “Our community teams have done a fantastic job of ensuring that our frontline colleagues are well supported and our patients, especially those who are vulnerable or shielding continue to receive the very best care possible.
“Our community teams really do go above and beyond for our patients and our communities across the bay – we can see this through the inspiring work that they have been carrying out with the homeless, in care homes and hospices and with our colleagues across our Bay Health and Care Partners.”