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Our successful Rapid Response Service expands in North Kent to help more patients

Our successful Rapid Response Service has expanded to include a new team covering emergency therapy support for patients throughout Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Swale.

The new team is now on hand to support patients with mobility issues and those who have long-term health conditions, or have recently returned from hospital.

It has been put in place following the success of the nurses’ response team, which has been operating in North Kent since 2016.

The role of the team is to provide emergency therapy care for patients who are in crisis  or struggling to cope at home, to prevent them from having to go into hospital.

The team also works with hospital staff to ensure that care services and other support are in place when patients return home from hospital.

This may include  providing moving and handling equipment, as well as carrying out assessments and treatment so that patients can regain their independence more quickly in the comfort of their own home, and reduce the risk of them going back into hospital or a care home.

Patients continue to be seen by the team for up to six weeks after their initial visit to continue rehabilitation programmes while they are waiting for equipment such as chairs, hoists and bathing aids.

The rapid response teams are based at Sheppey Community Hospital and at Gravesham Community Hospital and provide both specialist nursing and therapy support for patients at home, responding to a call within two hours.

They work closely with other healthcare professionals including GPs, the ambulance service, community nurses and hospital staff.

North Kent’s Rapid Response Nursing Service, which was a forerunner and the model the new therapy team is based on, visits patients in their homes for issues such as blocked catheters, syringe driver problems, palliative care, falls and for wound dressings.

We work in partnership with the two NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) covering Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Swale, which have provided additional funding for the emergency therapy service as part of their local care programmes to deliver more services at home or closer to where people live.

Sarah Wardle, the Managing Director for our organisation in North Kent, said: “We are very pleased to have a new rapid response service offering therapy needs for patients now up and running across our North Kent areas.

“This important service will be a great help for those in need and will help people remain in their own homes where appropriate. This is much better for them as it is a familiar and less stress free environment and also keeps hospital beds free for others.”

Dr Adekemi Osadiya, Local Care Clinical Lead for Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group, added:  “It’s great news that this new service is now available and can respond quickly to patients in need of emergency therapy support in the comfort of their own home.

“This is one of a range of new services we are introducing with local partners to improve care for the frail elderly and those with complex needs in their homes and local community, rather than in hospital.”

Dr Fiona Armstrong, Chair of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  “Investing in high quality care in our communities is a key priority for us and we are delighted that the rapid response team is now able to respond more quickly to patients who are struggling with their mobility and may need therapy support so they can regain their independence.”

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