Wrexham Maelor Hospital has opened the first ward of its kind in North Wales which helps prepare patients to leave hospital and go home.
The ward, called Ready for Home Ward, has capacity for five patients who no longer need medical attention, but need to be observed and assessed by therapists and nurses from the Home First Team to see how they will cope once they are home, and decide what further support they may need.
The ward has been made to look less clinical and more like a ‘home’ and the patients are encouraged to wear their own day clothes, prepare their own meals in a ‘home’ style kitchen and to eat together.
Therapists will work with patients to ensure that they achieve optimum independence during their stay.
Sarah Edwards, Clinical Flow Manager from the Home First Bureau, said: “The ward will help simulate being at home for our patients which will help them build their independence, confidence and boost their mental well-being before going home. It also gives us an opportunity to assess them in a home environment, to see if ensure they are ready to go home and what level of support they will need.
“Responses from the first patients in the unit have been extremely positive and they feel that it is a constructive step in getting them home from hospital safely. The Rehabilitation Unit has been a big support for the new ward too, and really helped turn this from an idea into a successful ward.”
Home First Bureau was first established in June 2020 working within the hospital and the community in Flintshire and Wrexham, to help assist with flow of patients through the hospital and preparing people to go home.
Valmai Jones, 80, from Wrexham, was the first patient on the new ward, after spending two months on Pantomime Ward following a small stroke, which affected the movement of her left leg and arm.
She said: “I was very impressed by all the staff on Pantomime Ward, they were great. When I was told I was going to the new Ready for Home Ward, I was glad, as I thought it was a good stepping stone, ideal for people who are nearly ready to go back home, it’s a brilliant idea.
“Having been in Wrexham Maelor on and off for three months I can say that the staff there were brilliant, running around taking care of everyone. I have nothing but gratitude for all the nurses, they are worth their weight in gold. I can thank the Maelor for saving my life more than once.
“The therapists and occupational health nurses now visit me at home to help with movement, and carers help me with my meals. I run a recorder group, and I play base-recorder which goes around my neck, I’ve not tried it yet but hopefully I can start again soon.”