Holiday healthcare heroes: The service which has helped patients spend Christmas at home

Lowestoft out of hospital team. Photo: ECCH

Lowestoft out of hospital team. Photo: ECCH


Throughout advent, we’re highlighting those who work hard throughout the year - and at Christmas - to keep Norfolk and Waveney’s health service ticking over.

This countdown of those we count on will focus on a different person or individual every day up until Christmas, celebrating our healthcare heroes.

East Coast Community Healthcare out of hospital team

Dozens of people will be enjoying Christmas at home instead of in hospital this year thanks to East Coast Community Healthcare’s (ECCH) out of hospital teams.

The multi-disciplinary teams which operate in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft work with a patient’s GP to provide care for people in their own home, avoiding the need to admit them to hospital wherever possible.

Each team is made up of nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, assistant practitioners, rehabilitation support workers and social workers. By keeping people at home, the service aims to reduce the exposure of frail individuals to communal infections and unnecessary delays in treatment. As well as carrying out nursing and re-ablement, the team can organise equipment should the patient need it to improve their comfort and recovery at home. They also offer advice and support to family and carers.

ECCH has been providing an out of hospital team in the Lowestoft area since 2014 and in Great Yarmouth and the northern villages since 2015. Now the social enterprise has also been contracted to provide a South Waveney team.

Around 50 patients are cared for by the team each week. Since April 2015 the teams have helped more than 2,000 people to recover in their own homes rather than in hospital.

Debbie Coe who manages the Lowestoft team said: “I love my job because we know most people would rather be in their familiar home surroundings than in a hospital bed and we can help to make that happen. Evidence shows that people recover better at home and bringing our ‘one stop shop’ to them saves them having to attend multiple appointments and explain their condition to lots of different clinicians. 100pc of patients said they would recommend our service in an NHS Friends and Family survey and that makes me feel very proud.”

• To read about other holiday health heroes, click on a door on the advent calendar above.

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