Hinchingbrooke Hospital ward closes in unit shake up

Hinchingbrooke Hospital building work

Hinchingbrooke Hospital building work - Credit: Archant

MANAGERS at Hinchingbrooke Hospital say closing a ward for elderly patients will allow staff to provide more specialised care – and help prevent unnecessary admissions – as part of an ‘integrated care plan’.

Patients and staff will from tomorrow (Thursday) be moved out of Damson Ward, which specialised in elderly trauma and orthopaedic care, to either the Short Stay Unit or a new combined unit that has been set up to focus on patients over the age of 65.

The hospital said the unit has been created by merging the functions of Spruce Ward, which used to look after elderly care, and Apple Ward, formerly the elderly rehabilitation unit. It will provide treatment as well as orthopaedic and rehabilitation services.

The Huntingdon hospital says the move will give patients access to better care as many older patients have more than one condition and need specialist care from a variety of doctors, which is made possible by grouping patients on one ward.

The ward will also have closer links to community services, which is hoped to prevent some patients from being admitted to hospital.

Hinchingbrooke chief operation officer Cara Charles-Barks said: “Taking an integrated approach to health care is particularly important for our elderly patients whose health wellbeing and independence can suffer when they’re faced with a lengthy hospital stay.

“Elderly patients often need access to a multi-disciplinary team including geriatrics, orthopaedics and community services, so it’s vital that we first consider other methods of caring for them in the community, and then if when they do come into hospital that we treat them as efficiently as possible, according to their specific needs, and not purely their age.”

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The hospital plans to develop its integrated system by working with community service providers, GPs and nurses to allow more patients to be treated, where appropriate, at home.

It added that the move would not reduce patient numbers or the number of services provided at Hinchingbrooke. No jobs will be lost as a result of the changes, a spokesman added.

The Circle Partnership, the private company which runs the hospital, believes the move will streamline its ward structure and ensure that patients receive the specialist care they need.