Based in Gosport, the Clarence Unit at Woodcot Lodge, will offer temporary ‘step-down’ accommodation for 54 patients initially. They will be supported by a team of dedicated nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and skilled care staff who will work with them to plan their rehabilitation, recovery and onward care arrangements.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Finding suitable and safe care accommodation to support those leaving hospital, but who are not well enough to go home, is always challenging. During the coronavirus pandemic, because of the increased need for facilities where people are able to isolate safely and because we do not want to pass undue risk to other very hard pushed public and private care homes, this challenge has intensified. This collaboration with our local health partners is an exciting new initiative and could, beyond the COVID-19 period, provide the blueprint for additional dedicated short-term nursing care facilities for the vulnerable across other hospital systems in Hampshire.”
Dr David Chilvers, Clinical Chair for Fareham and Gosport (Hampshire Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups) said: “The new Clarence Unit will see a number of organisations working together to provide the care and support patients need, in a safe environment, to help them recover and build up their strength after a stay in hospital.
“It will allow us to make best use of our combined health and social care skills and resources so that we can provide care tailored to the need of each individual patient.
“It’s a great example of what can be achieved by organisations working together effectively, at speed and with a shared purpose.”
On arrival, there will be a 14 day period when patients will be cared for in isolation. During this they will be supported by a dedicated team of care staff but will not be able to mix with other residents. This will minimise any risk of the virus, or any other infections, spreading. Stays will be for up to a maximum of 28 days after which residents will either return home, or will be transferred to the right longer term care setting.
In line with all County Council care homes currently, families and loved ones will not be able to visit, but residents will be supported to keep in regular contact via phone, Skype or Zoom.
Under current plans, the Clarence Unit is set to remain open until 31 March 2021, but this will be closely monitored and could become permanent, subject to demand levels and the availability of partner funding beyond 2020/21.
The County Council is a partner in the Portsmouth and South Eastern Hampshire Integrated Care Partnership (ICP). Key partners on the Clarence Unit project are Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the Hampshire Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.