Team working in the background to keep people out of hospital
PUBLISHED: 15:14 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:14 05 June 2018
A team which swings into action when someone in Norwich is facing a health, social care or wellbeing crisis is celebrating its first birthday.
The Norwich Escalation Avoidance Team – known as the NEAT – has helped more than 1000 people in its first year, helping them remain cared for safely at home when otherwise they might have ended up going to hospital or needing respite care.
The NEAT is a group of NHS, social care and voluntary sector professionals drawn from the community services provider Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC), the mental health provider Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Norfolk County Council. They are able to co-ordinate and mobilise support and services offered by any of the partners and also voluntary organisations working in the community.
When NEAT receives a referral from a GP, paramedic, social worker, mental health specialist or other professional, the NEAT team swings into action.
By pooling their expertise they arrange the most appropriate package of care or support to meet the needs of each patient, to ensure their problem is quickly resolved. They also put in place plans to avoid problems in the future.
This might mean carefully co-ordinated visits by several health or care professionals working together, and it might involve asking a local voluntary group such as Age UK Norwich or Voluntary Norfolk to provide some befriending or social support.
If people need to go to hospital they will, but in most cases they are helped to stay at home.
The work of the NEAT was brought to the attention of the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, on a visit to Norwich.
Nick Pryke, from Norfolk County Council and NCHC, said: “NEAT enables people to stay in control of their health and wellbeing and, with support, to quickly recover from a crisis and continue to live their lives fully in their local community.”
The chairman of Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group, Tracy Williams, added: “NEAT has been an innovative approach in caring for people in the right place by the right health or care professional in a timely way when they have hit a crisis.
“The NEAT has been instrumental in developing the service this past year. I congratulate and thank the whole team for this great achievement.”
Most people referred to the NEAT have multiple health problems, or social issues such as loneliness and isolation; 50pc of referrals into the NEAT are for people aged over 80 years old, very often they are frail and may need befriending or social support to help them remain independent.
NEAT also supports people to be discharged from hospital when they no longer require acute care, but need a period of extra help when they return home.
Because the NEAT operates efficiently in the background, it is likely that most patients or clients are unaware of the NEAT’s existence or had arranged the stepped-up package of care they received.