A brand new unit at Larchwood Care’s Oake Meadows Care Home in Taunton is helping to reduce unnecessary hospital stays in the town.

The new facilty has opened at the care home in partnership with Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Somerset County Council and Larchwood Care, to rehabilitate people recently discharged from hospital.

The unit, which has been given the name ‘Willow’, offers ongoing support and assessment for patients leaving acute care at Musgrove Park Hospital. With 15 bedrooms and a mix of specialist staff from all three of the organisations involved, the wing specialises in reablement and physiotherapy.

Willow unit is one of three approaches being utilised to reduce long, unnecessary hospital stays in the Taunton area. This works alongside greater support and therapy at home as well as short term reablement, to help individuals achieve a return to independent living.

Lynn Fearn, Larchwood Care’s Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with the NHS trust and county council to host the Willow Unit at Oake Meadows.”

“Leaving hospital and returning home, can be a difficult process, particularly when the individual has been away for some time. This facility enables them to gear back up towards independent living in a safe and comfortable environment.”

Supporting People to Live Independently

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Somerset County Council said: “Somerset County Council is delighted to work with our partners to launch this new facility. Our aim is to improve lives and support people to live independently, and this new facility will help those leaving hospital to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Kate Smith, who is responsible for therapy services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer additional care through the Somerset Home First service for patients who need support to get back to their usual daily routine after leaving hospital.

“By working closely with the excellent trained staff at Oake Meadows Care Home, our patients will continue to get the care they need with a much-reduced risk of being readmitted to our district general hospital.

“On average we are seeing that patients who benefit from the Home First service tend to stay five fewer days in hospital than they normally would have.

“And, many of our patients and their families have told us that they were very happy to leave hospital sooner with support from therapists.”