New Complex Needs Day is a hit

A new service is up and running at Alice House Hospice; a social Day Care service for patients with more complex healthcare needs.

The idea for the Complex Needs Day came about because of a gap in service provision for people for additional complex health care needs.

“I really enjoy my day out and it’s something I look forward to.  It helps keep me socially active and keeps my mind busy.  There is a good structure to the day and Helen (…Porritt, Nurse Practitioner) has the heart of a lion.”

John Stokell

Helen Porritt, Nurse Practitioner said, “Here at Alice House we were aware of a number of patients who did not fit the criteria for social day care as their needs outweighed those which we could safely support within a larger group. It is not uncommon for the health of our patients attending our Social Day Care to deteriorate and prior to the introduction of the Complex Needs Day we had little option but to discharge them leading to further social isolation; at a time when they needed support more than ever.  For staff at the Hospice this was never comfortable.”

During a visit to the Complex Needs Day are we met John Stokell who was busy playing dominos with staff when we arrived.

We had the chance to chat with John and were delighted to find out how much this new service has helped him.  John’s loves to play dominos and bingo, both of which help keep his very active mind busy; John was proud to tell us that he has a Mensa IQ of 142 and likes to keep his brain exercised.

Having previously attended the Day Care sessions in the Holistic Wellbeing Centre his health needs had become more complex and it was becoming more difficult to give him the dedicated care he needed.  He has now swapped onto the new day which has a higher ratio of staff to patients and, with the additional benefit of a Nurse Practitioner who oversees the day, it has proved a much better environment for John.


Helen Porritt

Helen said, “It is great to see our patients like John attending the Complex Needs Day, here they receive social interaction and support from staff to help maintain their current level of physical health and to help prevent deterioration to their mental wellbeing as a result of social isolation.”

John is registered blind and suffers from seizures following previous strokes, he also has COPD and is at risk of frequent chest infections.  John also has problems with his spine and has increased pain and reduced mobility.  All of this can cause John to become anxious and isolated.

On one of his visits the staff identified that John had a chest infection, antibiotics were prescribed and a follow up appointment arranged with carers at John’s home to ensure the medication was working and that John’s condition was not deteriorating; this level of support is unique to the Complex Needs Day and is not widely available in any other local social day care provision.  Referrals to other health teams are also expedited quickly; John was referred to the falls team after having had a few falls at home.

Whilst attending the Complex Needs Day he takes the opportunity to enjoy a neck, shoulder and hand massage from the Complementary Therapist and is also going to start having a therapeutic bath.  John said he is looking forward to shutting his eyes and relaxing with some classical music.

Before attending the Hospice Day Care, John had become isolated for about 3 years, the social interaction really helped him gain back some of his confidence, this has carried forward into the Complex Needs day but with the additional benefit of more medical help.

John said, “I really enjoy my day out and it’s something I look forward to.  It helps keep me socially active and keeps my mind busy.  There is a good structure to the day and Helen (…Porritt, Nurse Practitioner) has the heart of a lion.”

Find out more about Complex Needs Day Care at Alice House.

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Hartlepool Hospice Ltd (known locally as Alice House Hospice and formerly Hartlepool & District Hospice)
Registered office: Alice House, Wells Avenue, Hartlepool, TS24 9DA.