What’s the biggest concern for the public when they, or their relatives, go into hospital care? Is it being there too long, or not long enough? That they will have to wait for a bed, or will be sent home with no aftercare?

This is where the new Wolstenholme Intermediate Care Unit steps in. Launched in November 2015 the unit works as an integrated one stop shop for the medical needs of the community. It is part of the Rochdale Infirmary as a collaboration between GP Care Services and the CCG, working to provide enhanced nursing or therapy care depending on the patient’s individual needs.

The purpose is to reduce the number of emergency services admissions as part of a new Intermediate Tier Care Service (ITCS). The beauty of this intermediate setting is that those who need care, but do not need to be placed in an acute setting, now have a temporary placement for rehabilitation.

Who Is It For? 


The care unit is for any patients who reside within the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale (HMR) area, or who are registered with a local GP based in HMR. The Wolstenholme unit comprises of:

- 24 community beds

- Care for any adult over the age of 18

- A staff of registered nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, assistant practitioners, social and support workers, pharmacy technicians and more.

But, is it working?

It’s great to have more information but what are the figures, and is it in fact improving care services for Rochdale?

- 1059 new referrals to the UCCT with 100% of referrals being seen within the two hour required response time

- 5.7% reduction in HMR attendances to emergency departments across the PAT sites, which equates to 938 less attendees to emergency departments than the same month in 2015

- The average length of stay is now 14.3 days, which is edging ever closer to the 14 day target

So in short, yes it is working. Exceptionally well.

What is the Referral Process? 


The concept is nothing new, but a huge part of what makes it so unique is the behind the scenes, in-house, urgent care community team. The urgent care team deal with all referrals for the Wolstenholme unit and decide upon the best course of action for each patient.

These referrals come in via local health and care professionals including local GPs, nursing and care homes, local hospitals and community health care providers either from hospital or from their own homes.

How Does it Work?  


The Urgent Care team work as part of the Intermediate Tier Care Service (ITCS) who operate with three sites:

- Wolstenholme Intermediate Care Unit

- Tudor Court in Heywood

- Virtual beds within the community.

As an everyday example the Urgent Care team may receive a referral for a chest infection, however, the patient has other underlying medical conditions. The team will then visit the patient at home and assess their needs, function and medical state. Are they able to move freely around the home, or do they require more assistance?

The appropriate care will then be placed around them. If the patient can function in a more residential setting they will have a ‘virtual bed’ at home and a team will be put in place to manage their recovery. However, if they require more hands on nursing care they will be placed in a bed at the Wolstenholme unit.

What Else Does the Unit Provide? 


The goal is to be able to provide more intensive treatment, closer to home without unnecessary hospital admissions. The ITS works as a tight knit team in the Wolstenholme Intermediate Care Unit. For a more in depth look into their services, the unit also provides:

- Community nursing and therapy services for adults

- Rehabilitation

- Supportive and complex care management

- Treatment room services

- Neuro rehabilitation

- Amputee and epilepsy services

- Stroke early supported discharge services and pulmonary rehabilitation

- Tissue viability

- Bladder and bowel – plus speech and language therapy

- Out of hours adult community nursing

The project is in collaboration with GP Care Services Limited, HMR CCG, Age UK Metro Rochdale (Age UK), BARDOC (Bury and Rochdale Doctors on Call), Big Life Group , The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Pennine Care Foundation Trust and Rochdale Borough Council.

The Wolstenholme unit is fast becoming a blueprint for other services around the country. It is an investment in the prolonged health and happiness of the local community. This kind of integration and collaborative working is unique, and is something the community should be proud of.

For more information on all the Wolstenholme Intermediate care services, or for contact information, visit their website here.