Midlothian health team hits milestone

Dorothy Carmichael and physiotherapist Nikki Jack.
Dorothy Carmichael and physiotherapist Nikki Jack.

A pioneering team of Midlothian health workers celebrated a milestone last week after helping their 250th patient get home from hospital sooner.

The award-winning multidisciplinary team, called Discharge to Assess (D2A), has worked with hundreds of patients to help reduce their length of stay and get them home faster. By helping those patients get home quicker, they have saved them from having to spend an extra 1,700 days in hospital – the equivalent of an extra week each.

Dorothy Carmichael (85) from Bonnyrigg, became one of the 250 patients to leave hospital sooner with the help of the team of physios, occupational therapists, health care support workers and other health professionals.

She was admitted into the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after she had a fall on a bus, injuring her shoulder and fracturing her other arm.

Dorothy, who was previously independent and attended regular dance classes, was keen to get home after spending two weeks in hospital.

She said: “It was much better to go home from hospital and get back to normal. In the hospital everything is so busy. Everyone does so much for you, but I’d much rather be in my own home. It makes a real difference to be able to get back to your own bed and away from a busy hospital.”

The D2A team was created in March this year as a joint programme between NHS Lothian and Midlothian Health and Social Partnership.

The team aim to minimise time spent in hospital and to maximise a person’s independence and ability at home.

They complete Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy assessments in a person’s own home environment and work with dedicated Clinical Support Workers that visits patients in their own homes up to three times a day to help with various tasks, such as washing, dressing, making meals and exercise.

Sharlotte Patterson, team leader for Intermediate Care, said: “I’m really proud of my whole team for what we’ve achieved since March.

“No one wants to be in hospital longer than they need to be so it’s very rewarding knowing that we’re helping patients to get home quicker and be supported in their own home.

“The team work closely with our colleagues in acute hospitals and in the community. This means we can access the correct support when we need it to ensure we get it right for each of our patients.”

Morag Barrow, Joint Director Midlothian HSCP, said other areas in Lothian were now looking to create a similar service.

She added: “I am incredibly proud of what this team have achieved - to have 250 patients assessed and back home in such a short space of time is just fantastic.

“The service is based on a simple premise. We know that people rehabilitate better in their own homes and we know they have better outcomes at home - there’s no bed like your own bed after all - and this team of physios, occupational therapists, health care support workers and other health professionals helps residents get there.

“The feedback from patients has been great and a real testament to the difference this team is making to people’s lives.

“We’re expanding the service to seven days a week. Not only does this help us to help more people directly, it helps us take pressure off other acute services and free up bed spaces, so it’s win-win. Congratulations to the whole team on this achievement.”