Specialist Mansfield apartments giving people independence and reducing hospital bed pressures

07 February 2018

Poppy Fields

Specialist apartments in Mansfield which offer care and support to older people to regain their independence after an illness or injury are helping to reduce the strain on under pressure hospitals.

Nottinghamshire County Council has 12 short-term assessment and reablement apartments at the Poppy Fields Extra Care Scheme in Mansfield with more planned in a new extra care scheme being developed in Newark.

The service is mainly for older people struggling to live independently or leaving hospital who previously would have been discharged straight into a care home or forced to stay in hospital for longer.

Service users receive 24-hour support and assessment, including personal care delivered by Mears and the Council’s START team, occupational therapy and social work over a short period before any decision on long-term care is made.

The period spent in an assessment apartment can allow suitable alternative housing to be found if their home is no longer suitable for their needs.

Councillor Stuart Wallace, Chairman of the Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “In the past older people leaving hospital were often temporarily placed in a care home so were at risk of staying long-term due to the lack of support to get them back on their feet.

“These apartments give people a real home environment where they can access a range of support to regain their skills, and social workers can make a better judgement on their future care needs compared to seeing them in a care home.”

The apartments have the advantage of offering people a modern home environment to regain their skills as they have their own kitchen, living area and bathroom.

Similar support – known as assessment beds – has been in use in care homes in the county since 2011 and has helped with hospital discharges for patients needing more support before they go home and diverting them from long-term residential care.

Around 30 percent of service users who used these beds in 2017 returned home after a period of assessment rather than return to hospital or go into a care home.

Four people who recently used the Poppy Fields apartments have transferred into extra care apartments rather than a care home, giving them more independence with help and support on site as and when needed.

Jean Cox, 80, is currently living in one of the assessment apartments at Poppy Fields whilst a bungalow or first floor flat is found for her. She moved into a Nottinghamshire care home last year.

Jean said: “I was living in Chapel St Leonards but needed to be nearer to my son in Mansfield as I was getting older and we thought a care home might be the best option.

“It really wasn’t for me in the end as I was the youngest there and I’m still lively. I found the place was slowly me down and I didn’t want that.

“My social worker said I could try out one of these assessment apartments to see if I was ready to live on my own again and it has been great here.

“My flat is beautiful with the bedroom and kitchen flowing into the living room and there are lots of activities on site and opportunities for a paid meal with your neighbours.

“I had to go into hospital for a fortnight before Christmas which has extended my stay here but I’m now ready to have a place of my own again.”

The Poppy Fields development features 48 extra care bungalows and apartments funded by the County Council as part of wider housing scheme created by Mansfield District Council.

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