Local Community News


poppyunitoneshowangelaripponThe innovative use of an Island nursing home to support the NHS through this winter has been highlighted in a BBC One programme that went to air last night (Thursday).

On Monday, staff and patients at both the Rehabilitation Ward at St Mary’s Hospital and the Poppy Unit, located on one floor of Solent Grange nursing home on the outskirts of Newport, received a visit from Angela Rippon and a film crew from the BBC’s One Show.

The crew followed a patient who was being transferred from the Rehabilitation Ward to the Poppy Unit, the nurse-led, step down facility put in place by the Island’s multi agency System Resilience Group, which is chaired by the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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The 13-bed unit was opened at the end of January for patients who no longer need to be in an acute hospital setting, but could move to alternative accommodation to complete their inpatient stay. Poppy Unit is managed and staffed by the NHS Trust and has received good feedback from patients, their families and carers. The facility has been designed to provide a good quality experience and environment for patients who are looked after whilst longer term arrangements are put in place.

Alan Sheward, Executive Director of Nursing and Workforce, said:

“It was great to welcome Angela to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust. We were able to show her our unique integrated care hub, where everything from our 999 and 111 calls are answered alongside the coordination a number of community services, our Crisis Response Team and social service colleagues.

“The filming was a good way to highlight the work being done by our staff to ensure patients are seen in the most appropriate setting. Although Poppy Unit isn’t the complete answer to the extraordinary levels of hospital admissions we’ve seen this winter, it has been a very successful pilot and many of the patients who’ve been seen there have seen improvements more quickly than they might have done in a hospital setting. The short term lease to use the floor at Solent Grange represented a fraction of the overall costs which are mainly for staffing and the supplies required to operate the Unit independently from the nursing home. If a longer term arrangement were to be put in place, we would expect the cost per patient to be less.”

Natalie Mew, Interim Matron for Stroke and Rehabilitation Wards, explained the success of Poppy Unit:

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“Because the atmosphere is more relaxed than a busy hospital ward, patients instantly feel more settled. The environment is much more akin to their own home or a care home, so the patients are able to start thinking about getting back to normal life sooner, and become more focused on a return to independent living. We’ve even seen some patients who, rather than go on to a nursing home as they had planned when they arrived here, have been able to go to a residential home or even their own home.”

Although planned to close after Easter, Poppy Unit will now remain open for a few more weeks to ensure that the current improvements in the flow of patients at St Mary’s hospital is sustained.  When Poppy Unit closes, its registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is separate from Solent Grange Nursing Home, will lapse.

You can watch the piece about the Poppy Unit on BBC’s iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b054xpf0/the-one-show-19032015.

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