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22 Jul 2020 Care

Kirkwood extends specialist support to local care homes impacted by coronavirus

Kirkwood is continuing in its efforts to support carers in the wider community as they handle the effects of coronavirus.

While Kirkwood’s services have quickly adapted to ensure vulnerable patients and families of those with life limiting illnesses can continue to get the help they need, as an essential local charity, Kirkwood also seeks to support carers and residents living in older people’s care homes.

Kirkwood now has two Clinical Nurse Specialists and one Admiral Nurse who will be supporting Locala’s Care Home Support Team across North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield. Historically, Kirkwood only ever had one member of staff dedicated to working with care homes, but in light of the pandemic, the team has expanded and joined forces with Locala to help care homes navigate the crisis across the borough.

Joanne Keeling, Kirkwood’s Community Services Manager, who is in close daily contact with Locala’s Community Care Team and care home staff, says “With so many homes affected by the crisis, Kirkwood wanted to help. It’s vitally important that people receive the right care at the right time, in the right place. During the early stages when symptoms were still a grey area, many patients would have been inappropriately admitted to hospital, but Kirkwood and Locala work hard to maintain care in the homes, keeping residents safe and preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.”

As well as delivering advanced care planning to residents, Kirkwood’s nurses provide support to those who may have symptoms of coronavirus and those nearing end of life, giving care homes the advice they need to look after the patients. Advanced care plans are incredibly important in preparing for the future, helping carers to better manage the patients within the care home, rather than in hospital.

A central hub of resources has been created by Kirkwood for care home staff with advice on end of life care for people with COVID-19. Those working in care homes can access medical advice from Kirkwood’s doctors via the telephone at any time, with Kirkwood’s Advice Line accessible 24/7 for all care home staff to call for support and guidance.

Kirkwood’s specialist Care Co-ordination and Family & Spiritual Care teams are on hand to assist family members or carers linked to care home residents to ensure everyone receives the support they need. Extra resources have also been put in place to offer advance care planning to families of care home residents with the team available to maintain clarity between care homes and families in this time of concern.

Joanne explains: “The Kirkwood and Locala partnership is hugely beneficial to the Kirklees community. We’re not duplicating work but supporting one another to deliver the best care we can to those who are vulnerable. These links are invaluable for the future, and show just how effective it is when people come together to deliver an excellent service in times of crisis.

“Weekly calls are held with every care home in Kirklees, where nurses and carers talk about conditions, symptoms and update on the crisis – a conversation we have all found very beneficial and that has fast become a valuable part of work life.”

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