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Northumberland grandmother praises ‘first class’ support

Friday, 04 July, 2014
Northumberland grandmother praises ‘first class’ support

A Northumberland grandmother has paid tribute to the care she has received which enabled her to get back on her feet after surgery and stay independent in her own home.

Sheila Marshall, 65, praised the care she received from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s short term support service (STSS) following knee replacement surgery at Wansbeck General Hosptial to help her get back to her usual routine and live at home safely.

The STSS provides urgent care and support for up to six weeks to help people in Northumberland to stay at home and live independently after a serious accident or illness. It also provides a short period of personal care and practical support to a person and their family if they have cancer or a life-limiting illness.

Sheila, from Bedlington, was helped by short-term support workers who came to her home three times a week and supported her with personal care tasks such as washing and getting dressed, and her compression (anti embolism) stockings which are worn after surgery until the patient becomes more mobile.

Sheila, who has two granchildren, said: “The care I received was first class, I could not fault it. The support workers made me feel comfortable and knew when to make light of a situation to put me at ease.”.

Just two weeks after her surgery, Sheila slipped and broke the same leg which had undergone the knee replacement whilst putting clothes in the washing machine at home. She went back into hospital but was able to get home after just one night thanks to the service.

Sue Davison, deputy team manager for the short term support service, said: “It’s great to see Sheila back on her feet again. When she was in hosptial we liaised with the nurses on the ward as soon as she was admitted and were able to quickly make arrangements to ensure she had the right care at home and everything was in place including specialist equipment such as wheelchairs, walking aids when she returned home.”

Sheila, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago and was forced to give up work in 1997 when her condition got worse, added: “They were there as soon as I came from hosptial with all the equipment I needed. They really listened and made sure I had everything I needed – arranging a special wheelchair and crutches because I was worried about getting around at home even though I already had a wheelchair.

“Everyone who was looking after me pulled out all the stops to get me home quickly. My husband and neighours helped out too – some even did the ironing! And the Short Term Suppot Service gave me a book of contacts with their number in case I got worried, but also lots of other useful contacts too. I can see how this would be invaluable if you were an older person and didn’t have family nearby. It was very reassusring to know that help was there if I needed – that I could ring and everything would get sorted out. ”

She is now able to manage at home with her husband and no longer needs support from the STSS. She continues to have physiotherapy as an outpatient.

Councillor Scott Dickinson, chair of Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Board who visited Sheila as part of series of visits to local health and social care services, said: “I was delighted to visit Sheila and to hear how this service worked for her, in Shelia’s case how excellent it was. The partnership developed between all those working to deliver health and social care for patients has enabled the short term support service to ensure Sheila had a smooth transition from hospital to her home.

“It is important to me to hear from patients who have experienced services across Northumberland because patients should be at the centre of all that we do on Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Board.”

Northumberland has a single point of access for social care and the short term support service. If you or someone you know is in need of short term support or has other social care needs telephone 01670 536400.