An NHS service which cares for East Devon people in their own home rather than in a hospital has welcomed its 500th patient.

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Margaret Cornish was the 500th person to be admitted to Hospital at Home, which provides health and social care for patients in and around Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton (WEB).

The project, which was launched two years ago, sees nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social care workers visit people in their own homes. It means patients can stay at home during their treatment and remain independent, while still receiving all the care they would on a conventional ward.

Margaret, 81, fractured her right hip after falling during a day out to Budleigh and underwent an operation at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E).

She started her recovery at the RD&E before being transferred to Exmouth Community Hospital. Thanks to Hospital at Home, Margaret was able to leave Exmouth hospital early and continue her rehabilitation at home.

Margaret described the inpatient care she received at the RD&E and Exmouth hospitals as ‘wonderful’ but said she was glad to be home, to be with her two cats.

Margaret, a former nurse who lives in Exmouth, said: “Hospital at Home is marvellous for the patient.

“They do a really good job and helped me to be independent.

“You definitely get better at home. You’re more secure, more with it. You can’t beat the comforts at home.”

The Hospital at Home team visited Margaret up to three times a day to support her and help to improve her mobility and stamina.

Margaret was given two walking frames while the team arranged for hand rails, a toilet seat and a shower chair to be fitted at her home, and the team also organised social care so she could continue with her rehabilitation.

Hospital at Home was commissioned by the Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Devon County Council.

The scheme is provided by integrated health and social care teams from the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and the county council, with close input from the RD&E.

Keri Storey, assistant director of health and social care, said: “Hospital at Home has been a great success since it was launched in December 2011 and the feedback from patients and their families has been very positive.

“Patients are able to get out of a conventional hospital and back to their familiar surroundings sooner, or avoid admission altogether.

“At the same time, this means hospital beds are freed up for other patients.”

Dr Anthony Hemsley, clinical lead for healthcare for older people at the RD&E, said: “The Hospital at Home service has proven to be successful for patients and their families and the team should be commended.”

Budleigh GP Dr Rick Mejzner, vice chairman of the WEB sub-locality with NEW Devon CCG, said: “We are really pleased with the positive feedback we have had from patients and families who have used the service over the last two years, which is a tribute to the professionals involved.

“We have learnt a huge amount of what is required to deliver this type of care and how we can integrate secondary and primary more effectively.”

Hospital at Home celebrated its second anniversary last Thursday.

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