We know that keeping patients in hospital for long periods of time is not necessarily in their best interests, particularly for older, frail patients, and this can lead to a deterioration in their wellbeing and reduction in independence.
For patients needing rehabilitation, there is strong evidence that suggests most people do better and make more progress out of the acute hospital environment, either in a community setting – for example a community hospital - or in their usual place of residence – at home, or in a nursing home - with additional support.
Last year the Trust began discussions with North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) around rehabilitation services. The CCG then commissioned a review which concluded that patients were likely to do better if the majority of this type of care was moved away from the acute hospital – in this case Ashford Hospital – into the community.
As a result and working closely with our partners Virgin Care and Adult Social Services, the care which was provided on Wordsworth and Fielding Wards is now being commissioned from the community. This includes rehabilitation services at Walton Community Hospital, Woking Hospital, nursing homes and care at home.
These changes will not affect any of the other wards at Ashford Hospital which will continue to provide stroke rehabilitation care (Chaucer ward) and orthopaedic care (Dickens ward).
Chief Nurse at the Trust Heather Caudle adds: “This is no reflection on the excellent job our staff have been doing at Ashford Hospital. These changes are purely focused on what is best for patients. All staff working on these wards are moving to alternative positions within the Trust, strengthening quality of care in other areas. We are working closely with colleagues in community and social care, to make sure patients coming into our hospitals are transferred, at the right time, to the most appropriate place.”
Heather continues: “Of course Ashford Hospital, rated a ‘Good’ hospital in our CQC inspection plays a key role in our future strategy. We have recently introduced new services for local people at Ashford – for example our chemotherapy service – and are looking to see what additional services we can bring to Ashford in the future.”
Dr Liz Lawn, GP and Clinical Chair at the CCG adds: “Next year we are planning to operate a new locality hub from Ashford Hospital – a GP-led day care facility, with health and social care teams who will provide a complete range of services for our elderly patients, helping them to stay independent and address any problems which could lead to prolonged hospital stays.”