A Batley-based organisation is supporting patients so they can be more independent.
Locala Community Partnerships is helping local patients and their carers to increase their knowledge of their health conditions and, as a result, be more confident about managing their own health and wellbeing.
Encouraging community patients to self-manage their care, with back up from professionals as appropriate, is part of the Care Closer to Home community healthcare contract which Locala was awarded last year.
Now Locala health care teams are making a real difference to the lives of patients and carers who are able to take control of their own care.
Tina Quinn, Locala’s Director of Quality, said: “As part of a new way of working our community nurses and therapists are spending more time at their first visit with patients to gather all the information they need, not only about their specific condition, but about all aspects of the patient’s physical, social and mental health needs and home circumstances.
“This holistic approach means there’s a greater opportunity for patients to discuss and understand their care and how, with support, they can monitor their condition and carry out simple care tasks safe in the knowledge that their clinical team is there to support them as necessary.”
Many patients across Kirklees have already taken this step towards maximising their independence and it’s working really well for them.
Janet Tearne from Mirfield, is one of the patients to benefit from the approach.
She lives with the chronic lung condition, emphysema, and praises the skills of her community matron Cathy Inman and her team who helped Janet regain her confidence after having surgery to remove part of her lung.
When Janet was first diagnosed she was very frightened and anxious and felt powerless.
Cathy worked closely with Janet to develop an emergency care plan and teach her the skills to manage the condition. Janet now knows how to plan her medication, what to do in an emergency and how to monitor signs and symptoms. She also knows how to do breathing exercises and pace her activities.
More recently Janet has joined a local choir. She said: “I’m in charge of this now; it’s not in charge of me anymore. Yet Cathy is still there for me in the background, if I need her, which is great.”
Another patient, Richard Palmer from Hightown, Liversedge, has severe Osteoarthritis and several other health conditions yet he doesn’t let that stop him leading a busy life.
He is the chairman of Kirklees Older People’s Network and has many craft hobbies.
He said: “I relish my independence. No one chooses to be disabled but if your body lets you down you can remain in control if the right support mechanisms are in place. Maximising independence means different things for different people as none of us have the same needs. By taking a holistic approach the healthcare team can provide the appropriate level of support.”
Locala’s community nurses have shown Richard’s personal assistant how to dress his leg wounds and they both know the nurses are there if they are needed.