Hospital care in your own home

The Antrim/Ballymena HDNT (from left)  Yvonne Creighton, Joy Barnes, Teresa O'Connell and Maria Betts  (Submitted Picture).
The Antrim/Ballymena HDNT (from left) Yvonne Creighton, Joy Barnes, Teresa O'Connell and Maria Betts (Submitted Picture).

Patients can avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital and instead receive treatment at home thanks to a service provided by Northern Trust.

The Hospital Diversion Nursing Team (HDNT) is a community based nurse-led service providing high quality, flexible and responsive care to patients.

The community nurses help prevent hospital admissions, facilitate earlier discharge and prevent unnecessary attendances at the Emergency Department by providing care such as blood transfusions, intravenous antibiotics, immunoglobulin therapy and catheterisations to maintain people at home or in community clinics.

Catherine Skeet, Hospital Diversion Nursing Team Co-ordinator for the Northern Trust said: “People tell us they would prefer to stay in their own homes to have their treatments with family around them to provide support, including home cooked meals and adequate rest.

“The Hospital Diversion Nursing Team treats adults and elderly patients at home who normally would have been admitted to hospital for treatment or care.

“This is much more convenient for people; reducing reliance on the hospital and reducing the risk of complications which might arise from a hospital admission,” she said.

Feedback from a client from Ahoghill, who was referred to the HDNT as she needed blood samples taken twice a week and blood transfusions as required, revealed she is happy with the service as it lets her stay at home with her family and gives her some normality while she is having her treatment.

Catherine Skeet said that on average the team receives 460 referrals per month.

“Many of our patients will have long term conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes and Osteomyelitis and require regular interventions to maintain their quality of life. Others will have life-limiting illnesses and require frequent acute interventions to ease symptoms.

“If it wasn’t for this service many patients would have to spend weeks in hospital,” said Catherine.

The Hospital Diversion Nursing Team work seven days a week from 8.45am to 10.45pm and accept referrals from hospitals as well as regional hospitals, GPs and Dalriada Urgent Care.