New era of healthcare in Exmouth
County-council run care home Exebank was mothballed this week after 50 years - with services to be replaced with what health chiefs have dubbed a ‘hospital ward at home’.
It was the end of an era on Tuesday when the last remaining resident, amputee Gerry Hall, 80, packed his bags and left.
Mr Hall was recovering at the 30-bed care home in Mudbank Lane, following surgery, and was moved on to complete his convalescence.
Until this week, the 27 staff had provided day care for the disabled and respite care for the elderly.
Now, from the New Year, a six-month trial will begin with some people, discharged from hospital, being supported in the comfort of their own homes, with day centre users set to move to Littleham’s Davey Court.
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County bosses this week insisted the mothballing of the home was not about cutting costs - but to improve services for local people.
Councillor Stuart Barker, the cabinet member for social care, said: “We are working with NHS Devon to… (help) more people to recover from hospitalisation and retain their ability to live independently.
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“We are already helping more people remain independent in their own homes in Exmouth…than elsewhere in the county.”
A council spokesman added: “People tell us they would rather be cared for in their own home, if possible, rather than in a care home.
“The decision to take part in the pilot is not financially driven; it is not to make savings.”
He added that there would be no job losses, with some staff taking part in the pilot and others being transferred to other care homes.
The new, round-the-clock ‘hospital ward at home’ will focus on discharged patients who need help to regain independence following a fall, injury or illness.
An NHS spokesman said: “The scheme will be overseen by doctors, but led by a team of nurses, occupational therapists and community care workers to ensure patients receive the right level of care.”
Between now and January, patients needing help could have home visits from the ‘rapid response’ team, stay in a private care home paid for by the council or, as a last resort, be cared for at Exmouth Hospital.
Mr Barker added: “The building will be brought back into use, if it is needed, after the pilot has been evaluated.”