The Chief Executive of the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), Dr Anne Kilgallen, has said that the re-opening of Drumclay Care Facility is an example of the “type of good work that can be achieved through the Pathfinder initiative”.

Dr. Kilgallen in an interview with the Impartial Reporter this week said that: “We can see the work that Noel Baxter, one of the Experts by Experience with Pathfinder, has done in terms of helping to create a service pathway. This is the type of work we want to be doing.”

On September 10, 2018 the Trust was advised by the Ebbay Group of their intention to close Drumclay Care Home on or before December, 12 2018. At the time Drumclay Care Home was a 52 bedded unit providing 30 General Nursing beds and 22 Dementia Nursing beds. In April of this year it was announced that the Trust would take up a 12 month lease of the property.

The new facility will “initially provide 14 beds” according to the Trust and has been established as a “new care model”. A statement from the Trust said that the new facility was “designed to provide a high quality care experience during transition from hospital to community care”.

“The transitional care unit will initially provide 14 beds, which aim to be therapy enriched, encouraging service users to recreate a routine like their own at home.

“The service users, their families and the wider community will be motivated to engage in the rehabilitation and community building ethos of the unit,” the statement said.

The facility has a number of goals including focusing on “helping service users to return home if possible, for as long as possible,” and “enable decisions regarding long term support to be made outside of acute settings and encourage service users to have access to services, community agencies and voluntary organisations in their communities.”

Speaking about the reopening of the Drumclay Care Facility Professor Ronan O’Hare, Assistant Medical Director at South West Acute Hospital; said: “This is an innovative new model of healthcare that involves nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work professionals working together, supported by medical input when required to enable patients to move into a community environment offering care and support,” he said.

Professor O’Hare said that it is the intention that this model of care could, in the future, reduce the need for hospital admissions: “We will facilitate people to return to their homes more quickly through providing a home from hospital ethos of care and rehabilitation to help them regain their independence and sense of wellbeing, and in time we intend that the model will help to avoid people being admitted to the acute hospital in the first place.”

He also explained that this new type of care model is what the people in the county want: “This facility will greatly enhance our community infrastructure, particularly addressing patient’s expectations that we heard during the Pathfinder public engagement sessions, which is to be treated closer to and as quickly as possible in their own homes.

“This is the start of a process to deliver more person centred care of the highest quality, delivering care at the right time, the first time, in the community,” he concluded.

Noel Baxter, an appointed independent Expert by Experience with the Pathfinder project, has been involved in the development of this new transitional care pathway at Drumclay.

“Having been a carer for my daughter over the past 31 years, I applied for and was appointed as an Expert by Experience for the Pathfinder project. I have an interest in Drumclay Care Facility as my daughter stayed in the home in the past and we live locally.

“I am delighted to see Drumclay re-opened for business by the Trust and the changes which have been made are tremendous.

“Staff have been appointed who are passionate about what is being planned here and I think it is an excellent example of what Pathfinder was set up to do, to look at how we can change and improve how we deliver health care in the area.

“I think that Drumclay transitional care facility can provide an excellent example of how things can be done better.”

Dennis Ryan has been leading on the Pathway Design and will be the Lead Nurse for the new Transitional Care Unit.

He believes this new model can make a very real difference in the care of older people coming through the service: “This new model of care came about from listening to service users and our staff and we believe that getting back into the Community as quickly as possibly is what matters to you and it is essential that we deliver that in a practical and safe manner.”