At-home care warning: 'My mum benefitted from being in hospital'

Brentwood Community Hospital; Inset: Councillor Mike Mackrory

Councillor Mike Mackrory (inset) criticised a move to bolster community hospital care with at-home treatment in mid and south Essex - Credit: Google Earth/Chelmsford City Council/Archant

Patients who need intermediary beds must be given them, health bosses have been told.

The warning comes ahead of changes to community bed provision at the health body which looks after intermediary beds in mid Essex.

There are around 115 community hospital inpatient beds across six towns in the area which provide short-term rehabilitation services.

Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership has been looking at the number and location of its community beds in the future.

It is considering making some of the urgent changes it made during the Covid-19 pandemic permanent.

The partnership is likely to make two frailty care wards at Brentwood Community Hospital permanent, and increase the number of community-based stroke recovery beds county-wide.

But it could continue its home care recovery service in Halstead, near Braintree.

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After the Covid-19 outbreak, the home care service replaced community hospital beds.

Ward teams looked after patients in their own homes.

Councillor Mike Mackrory criticised the move in an Essex County Council health board meeting.

Cllr Mackrory said: "My mother was in intermediate care after discharge.

"She benefitted enormously from that.

"I see that the plan is for at-home care instead of the previous method of support.

"There was no way that the individual I was speaking about could have possibly been looked after in the same way at home, not least the fact of getting her walking.

"I'm worried that people being treated at home are not getting the same sort of care they had at an intermediate level.

"When she eventually went home, it wasn't long before she had to go back to hospital."

Stephanie Dawe, group chief nurse and chief operating officer at Provide, which helps deliver community care, said: "I have to say that the evidence so far suggests that the improvements people make are better than when they are in a hospital bed.

"But there is always the occasion where people do need to be in a bed."

She added: "We know we need beds.

"But there are people who do better by going home.

"We are making sure we balance those needs accordingly."