An Integrated Front Door service that helps patients avoid being admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital if their conditions can be taken care of at home has won praise across the borough’s communities.
The service was one of the first of its kind in the country when it opened in December 2020 as a Walsall Together initiative and it now runs seven days a week from 8am-6pm.
It acts as a ‘front door’ providing an alternative to the Emergency Department for patients who arrive there but can be cared for within the community. The team is made up of Community Nurses including Nurse Prescribers and it integrates with other Multi-Disciplinary Teams in both the hospital and community services.
It means that suitable patients can be cared for at home by community services including Virtual Wards at home, supported by appropriate staff.
Kirsty Donaldson, Community Lead, Integrated Front Door Service at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We feel that the team is making a real difference to patients’ lives as we have avoided 4,204 hospital admissions, supported 1,501 early discharges and referred hundreds into community services.
“But the best judges of all are the patients themselves and their families and we have had some amazing feedback from them which not only reinforces our belief that the service is working well but gives us a huge amount of job satisfaction too.”
One grateful relative said: “I did not know what a Virtual Ward was until the team explained this to me. My wife was coming home from A&E and I was really worried what I would do at home if she was to become unwell. The team has arranged for a Virtual Ward to keep an eye on her and for me to be able to call someone if I am worried. It has made me feel confident. Fantastic service. I don’t want my wife in hospital and the ward means she is at home but still being looked after. I am really happy.”
A patient said: “I am so grateful to the front door service for helping me to get home, I’m a home bird and don’t like leaving the house. I felt anxious about being in hospital. Front door nurse Emma referred me to a pathway in the community for me to have my IV antibiotics administered at home. Thank you so much for been so lovely to me.”
Another said: “I love the team; they have given me security knowing I can stay at home and be cared for.”
And it’s not only patients and families who are benefitting as efforts help ease pressures within Urgent and Emergency Care.
Miss Ruchi Joshi, Deputy Divisional Director for Medicine and Long-Term Conditions, said: “This an effective, responsive team, always willing to support patients, families, and clinical staff within the organisation.
“Colleagues are always willing to provide their expertise and are innovative in their ways of working, delivering patient-centred care. I am impressed at the level of compassion that they show towards patients and their families whilst having sensitive and challenging discussions.
“The team also supports clinical staff through education both on and off the shop floor.”