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North Tyneside community nursing teams continue to see patients most in need through adverse weather

Wednesday, 24 December, 2014
North Tyneside community nursing teams continue to see patients most in need through adverse weather

Community nursing teams in North Tyneside will continue to see patients who are most in need in the event of adverse weather.

Teams across North Tyneside, part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, work through all types of weather to get out and visit elderly and housebound patients at home. 

Lee Ranyard, a district nurse based at Shiremoor Resource Centre in North Tyneside, said heavy snow makes the job more difficult but there are plans in place to treat the patients who need a home visit.

“We do our best to deliver the care that is necessary, but in bad weather our home visits may have to change to manage demand and prioritise the patients who need us the most. For example someone who needs an insulin injection would be prioritised over someone who might be waiting for a flu jab,” he said.

“We make sure we communicate this to our patients as best as we can so they understand what is happening and that we will get to them.” 

He is encouraging elderly and housebound patients and their families to get in touch with their community nurse if they feel under the weather.

“Elderly people who may have an illness or infection show this differently to a young person,” he explained. .

“They could have a change in behaviour which their loved ones may notice, such as feeling muddled or not managing at home. We would like to see those people a little bit earlier so we can organise a care package which can prevent them becoming ill enough to need hospital treatment.”

Meanwhile Lee, who co-ordinates the four community nursing teams in the Whitley Bay area,  is also encouraging those elderly and housebound patients who are over 65 or have an underlying health condition particularly heart or respiratory disease to get the NHS flu jab from their GP practice and prevent themselves becoming ill.

“Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia – which is a lung infection, so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect themselves.” 

Janet Kelly, community chief matron for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our community nursing teams across North Tyneside and Northumberland work across one of the biggest regions in the country, which presents its own challenges.

“With many people living in more rural settings, delivering care to these people can often prove difficult in winter so we are fully prepared for adverse weather. We are encouraging our elderly and housebound patients to protect themselves against flu with the NHS flu jab and to act quickly and get in contact with their community nursing team if they feel under the weather.”