Members of the multidisciplinary team involved in the Clinical Recovery and Support Unit at Nenagh hospital, Prof Mike Watts, consultant physician; Dr Sara Gwiazda, SHO, Nenagh hospital; Michelle O’Co
AN initiative at Nenagh Hospital is allowing patients with complex care needs access enhanced supports from allied health professionals as they continue their rehabilitation and recovery.
The Clinical Recovery and Support Unit (CRSU) identifies patients who have been in University Hospital Limerick for longer than 30 days but who no longer need to be in the region’s only model 4 hospital.
As well as helping the patients themselves move to the next stage of their care and recovery, the initiative improves patient flow within the wider UL Hospitals Group.
The new service comes under the clinical governance of consultant physician Prof Mike Watts and is supported through the recruitment of four whole-time equivalent additional therapists and medical social workers.
“When I meet with patient flow and bed management staff, one of the issues we often talk about is those patients who have been in UHL for more than 30 days. These are patients for whom there has unfortunately been some bump in the road - either a clinical one or in their rehab or some factor relating to their discharge,” said Prof Watts.
“For many patients, for any number of good clinical reasons, they absolutely need to remain in UHL. However, we have identified another group of patients who do not need to be in UHL but who do need to be cared for somewhere to have their issues resolved,” he said.
Prof Watts said that on any one day, there can be between 50 and 60 patients in UHL whose length of stay has exceeded 30 days.
It is envisaged that, over the coming months, Nenagh can accommodate up to 10 of these patients where their care needs match the criteria of the CRSU. Nenagh has 48 inpatient beds and has generally more modern inpatient accommodation than is available to patients at UHL.
In addition, Nenagh Hospital has the dedicated and highly skilled teams of nursing staff who are essential to delivering care to this more complex group of patients.
Additional allied health professional resources are being put in place in Nenagh and patients have begun to be transferred to the CRSU. This transfer can only take place with the consent of the patient / relatives and of their treating clinicians in UHL.
Fiona Steed, Allied Health Lead, UL Hospitals Group, said the initiative had allowed them to bolster the allied health staff at Nenagh hospital and provide improved quality of care and better patient outcomes throughout the hospital.
“The allied health professional support that has been secured with this initiative is of great benefit to all patients being cared for in Nenagh Hospital,” said Cathrina Ryan, operational director of nursing, Nenagh hospital.
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