Northern Trust Hospital Diversion Team

Patients with chronic and acute conditions can now avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital and receive treatment at home or in a comfortable clinic environment thanks to a service from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The Hospital Diversion Nursing Team are community nurses who help prevent hospital admissions or facilitate early discharge by providing care such as blood transfusions or intravenous antibiotics to people at home.

Rachel, a mum-of-two from outside Ballymena suffers from a neurological condition which affects her muscles. It means that she can loose the use of her hands and feet. She can trip and stumble quite easily and has problems dressing herself. She has been treated by the Hospital Diversion Nursing Team since 2004 and has had a nurse coming into her home every five weeks to administer her intravenous medication over a three day period. She receives the medication through a drip in her arm and this helps to relieve her symptoms.

Rachel is delighted with the treatment she receives at home. Speaking about the benefits of the service Rachel said:

“I used to travel to the Royal Hospital for treatment every four or five weeks. I would leave the house at 7.00am have my treatment which usually lasts for about six hours. I didn’t get home until maybe 8.00pm. I was shattered and it took me a good week to recover. Now I feel the benefits of the medication working after a couple of days.

“The Hospital Diversion Nursing Team offers an invaluable service for people with chronic conditions like mine. The nurses come into my house and provide me with the same care as I used to get in the hospital. They take my blood, check my temperature and pulse and administer my intravenous medication. If they notice any changes in my condition they can contact my consultant at the Royal for advice at any time.

“This has made a huge difference to the lives of the whole family. I have two young children and this allows me to be here for my children when they go to and come back from school”.

Wendy Magowan, Interim Assistant Director Primary and Community Care for Older People’s Services for the Northern Trust said,

“People tell us that they would prefer to stay in their own homes, with the right support, so that they can remain independent for as long as possible.

“The Hospital Diversion team treats elderly or housebound people at home who normally would have been admitted to hospital for treatment or care. This means that patients have their treatment delivered at home or close to home in local clinic sessions. 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. This is a multi disciplinary approach with district nurses, social workers and physiotherapists or occupational therapists contributing to the care.

“Last year the team accepted more than 5500 referrals .These patients had the same care provided to them at home by the Hospital Diversion Nursing Team as they would have if they had been admitted to hospital. This team provides a valuable, safe alternative to hospital attendance”.

Page last updated:19 February 2013