NOC helps Nottingham's hospitals to get 130 people home safely
Our Assistive Technology Service has been supporting Nottingham’s hospitals to safely discharge patients for many years.
We ensure that a care alarm, and any additional equipment that is needed, can be installed in the patient’s home when they leave hospital. This not only helps to get people back into their own homes, it also enables the hospital to free-up beds – something that has been even more imperative over the past 12 months.
We aim to install equipment and set-up the service within 48 hours of receiving a completed referral. Meeting this quick installation target isn’t always easy. There are a number of factors at play, such as getting in touch to arrange the installation, a delay in the discharge, and not having a landline, which traditional alarms need to link to our contact centre.
In April 2020, during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, we worked alongside the hospital social work team to find solutions to improve this process. Due to the pandemic, this was particularly poignant as the hospital was under increasing pressure to discharge patients safely and at the earliest opportunity.
We decided that the most effective solution is for patients to take a digital care alarm home with them, at the point they are discharged (as long as the patient has support from someone at home to install the alarm).
We provide support for these ‘self-installations’ in several ways:
- The digital care alarms only need to be plugged into a power socket, not a phone line
- We provide installation instructions
- There is a hotline to our engineers, who can talk someone through the installation.
Since April 2020 we have provided stocks of care alarms to the social care staff at both Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre. They have so far been able discharge 130 patients with an alarm.
Patients are supported by Nottingham on Call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as soon as the alarm is plugged in. They are also able to have a keysafe set up outside their home, which enables care staff to enter in an emergency, or while the patient is not able to let them in.
Anne-Marie Chappell, Locality Manager for Nottingham City Council’s Integrated Discharge Team, said of the service: “Assistive Technology (NOC) colleagues have been amazing. At the start of the pandemic, we did not know how difficult it was to become. The Assistive Technology team rose to the challenge of a speedy discharge and worked with the Integrated Discharge team to implement a new process, which meant we were able to discharge Nottingham citizens home safely, with the right equipment, at the right time.
“The citizens found this reassuring, as did the families, who could not see their loved ones due to the lockdown measures. The team felt that they had been able to get citizens home -the place they wanted to be - safely.
“As the pandemic has continued, we have improved this process even more. Hopefully, we will continue to do this for the benefit of patients.”
Dave Miles, Nottingham on Call’s Development Manager, added: “Nottingham on Call is proud to be supporting patients, to get home from hospital quickly and safely.
“Whilst we do provide a quick installation service, sometimes there are challenges in getting the alarm installed. It is great that we are able to supply a stock of alarms to the hospital staff, and to provide the support patients need to keep them safe at home.”