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Neath Port Talbot

Regional partnership secures care home beds to tackle winter pressures

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Eight care homes in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot have offered more than 50 beds between them to help ease the unprecedented pressures on health and social care.

The beds will give patients who are ready to leave hospital – but can’t yet go because their onward care is delayed for a variety of reasons – a more homely alternative to languishing on a busy acute hospital ward.

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The 55 beds have been bought for use over the winter, a time when pressures are traditionally at their highest, but expected to be even worse this year.

These transitional care beds will help tackle delays which many patients face leaving hospital, which in turn will allow patients who need to be admitted have a bed sooner. This will then help reduce the number of ambulances queuing outside hospitals waiting to admit patients.

Patients won’t be charged for their stay in these transitional care beds. The cost is being covered by Swansea Bay University Health Board and Swansea and Neath Port Talbot local authorities through the *West Glamorgan Regional Partnership’s winter pressures budget. The beds are across four care homes in Swansea and four in Neath Port Talbot.

Stays in transitional beds should be for up to six weeks. However this could be longer or shorter depending on the availability of community support packages.

There are around 250 patients currently in acute wards in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, who are well enough to leave but delayed from doing so. Arrangements are currently in the process of being made for some of these individuals to move to the transitional care beds.

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Huge pressures on health and social care as a result of the pandemic and staffing shortages has meant innovative and flexible ways of tackling the issues have had to be sought.

The transitional care beds will be used for patients who may need some support from care staff to be able to live in their own home and are waiting for suitable arrangements to be put into place – a package of care

The beds are also available for people who have been in hospital and have been receiving some support with care tasks or help from professionals such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy and this needs to continue before they can go home.

It is also available for people who have been assessed as requiring a care home placement. They will move to one of the transitional care home beds while waiting for a bed in the home they selected to become available.

The 55 beds are the first phase of plans to buy up to 100 care beds in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot over the winter. The second procurement phase will begin shortly.

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Swansea Bay University Health Board Chief Executive, Mark Hackett, said: “The current pressures are severe and ongoing, and likely to worsen in the months ahead. We must take urgent action now so we can provide a much more appropriate environment for patients who no longer need acute medical help, but are being delayed through no fault of their own from leaving hospital.

“It is not good for their health or wellbeing to have a prolonged stay on an acute hospital ward. They are at risk of picking up infections, have little opportunity to socialise and their fitness levels can suffer badly by not moving around enough.

“A care home offers a much homelier environment, with day rooms and dining facilities, and far more opportunities to engage with others.

“I’d like to ask families to work closely with hospital teams if their relative is one of the patients identified as being suitable for the new bed scheme, to help the moves go as smoothly as possible.

“I would also like to thank our partners in West Glamorgan Regional Partnership for rising to this challenge in such a flexible and innovative way, and also the care homes who came forward so quickly to offer their available beds. I hope that we will be in a position to find another 45 beds shortly.”

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Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Mark Child, said: “These are unprecedented times. Covid-19 has not gone away.  This joint approach will provide an option that will support people’s reablement when they are ready to leave hospital care.

“Alongside our NHS colleagues, we want to reassure those leaving hospital and their families that they are getting quality care in a quality setting aimed at improving their long-term wellbeing.”

Councillor Peter Richards, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Health, said: “The Council has provided significant support to our NHS over the course of the pandemic and we remain committed to doing what we can to alleviate the acute pressures our NHS is now experiencing.

“The increased number of people requiring ongoing care and support following treatment in our NHS means that we need more people to work in social care. We have a significant recruitment campaign underway and I am delighted to welcome those who are starting their career with us this side of Christmas.  

“While we are increasing the number of care workers who will support people in their own homes, we also recognise the role the transition beds procured by the Health Board will play in moving people out of acute settings more quickly and will work with health colleagues and residential care providers to make this initiative a success.”

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Dance

Doctors prescribe dance classes to keep patients on their feet

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Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet.

Five of the health board’s clusters – groups of GP surgeries working together within a geographical area – are backing the scheme as the exercise to music is proven to aid falls prevention.

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Each class is led by a trained dance teacher with participants encouraged to follow a range of routines, designed to develop their strength and balance, with the option of using a chair for support if their mobility is limited.

The Dance for Health programme is a collaboration between the health board, clusters, local authorities, and Aesop, an arts focused charity.

Alyson Pugh, Programme Manager at Aesop, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners in the health sector to improve the health and wellbeing of people aged over 65 through the medium of dance.

“During each class participants will move to a variety of music from all around the world. The classes are fun and vibrant, increasing fitness, mobility and strength.

“Afterwards, participants will have a good chance to get to know one another over a cup of tea or coffee. No previous experience is needed, everybody is welcome.”

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So far classes are held in Pontardawe, Morriston, Seven Sisters, Cwmavon and Briton Ferry, Upper Killay, Reynoldston, Mumbles and the Waterfront Museum.

Alyson said: “The health board asked for 12 classes across Swansea Bay and funded the management side while the GP clusters are funding the delivery of the classes. They wanted it to be grass roots up.

“Anyone can walk in but they wanted the main referrals to come from the virtual wards and local area coordinators and social prescribers, a whole community approach.”

Lizzie MacMillan (Image: Swansea Bay HNS)

Dance artist Lizzie MacMillan (left), a development officer for Dance for Health, said: “It’s for older people and people who are struggling a little bit with perhaps balance issues, mobility issues as well, so we are not expecting them to foxtrot along the floor on the first class or anything like that. It builds up over the weeks.

“We start off quite gently, just seeing where everyone is in the class – I like to gauge the class first of all to see if people are having problems with balance or perhaps giddiness or joint problems. I like to get to know each person in the class so that I can look after them and know their capacity for movement.

“We use the chairs quite a lot if someone is unsteady on their feet. They can still do a variation using the chair for support. We also do a standing variation if people are a little fitter or a little bit more able to push themselves further in the class.”

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Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Mike Garner, Cwmtawe Cluster lead, said: “We are delighted to be participating in this programme as it fits in perfectly with our goal of improving well-being and helping people remain fit and healthy.”

One participant, Pauline Anderson, said: “I’ve been to four or five classes. I thought I would try it to see what it’s like and it’s been very good.

“As you get older you become more immobile. I’ve been struggling with my knees and joints, so I have found it helpful.

“I would advise anyone thinking about it to just come along.”

Another participant, Betty Didcock, said: “I try to keep active as much as I can. I used to enjoy dancing when I was younger. I’ve made friends here. If you’re a bit shy, it’s a wonderful place to come to get used to talking to people. I’m a quiet one. I don’t always do it right but I have a go.”

While Amber Davies said: “I thought I’d come along to see what it was like. It’s important to keep busy and remain active. It’s also a good way of meeting new people.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Construction

Housebuilder reports “exceptional demand” as Aberavon development launched

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“Exceptional demand” has been reported as the first homes at a new development on Aberavon seafront were released for sale.

All appointments were fully booked on Saturday as Persimmon Homes West Wales opened the doors to the sales office.

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Two homes were purchased at the Awel Afan development and a further 10 reserved on the Early Bird scheme over a busy weekend.

A total of 137 homes are being built on the former Afan Lido Leisure Centre site on Princess Margaret Way.

Sharon Bouhali, Sales Director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We’re pleased to have launched our Awel Afan site.

“The demand has been exceptional. Right from the moment we acquired the site and announced the plans, we have seen a phenomenal amount of interest from a wide range of people wanting to live in his amazing location.

“The housing market remains buoyant in West Wales but, even so, the buzz around Awel Afan is almost unprecedented.”

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Opened by the Queen in the 1970s, the Afan Lido was destroyed in a fire in 2009 and the site has been unused since.

Persimmon say the development will bring a massive boost to the local economy through the construction industry and its multiplier effect. According to figures from the House Builders Federation, for every £1 spent on housing, £3 goes back into the economy.

The national house builder says that each home built also creates 1.5 full-time direct jobs – and at least twice that number in the supply chain.

The development will be made up of two, three and four-bedroom houses, as well as a range of two-bedroom flats.

Homes currently on sale include the popular two-bedroom terraced Alnwick with its modern open plan kitchen/diner and the four-bedroom detached Hornsea with ensuite and integral garage.

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Persimmon Homes recently supported Afan Lido Girls FC with a game-changing grant of £20,000 through its Building Futures campaign.

(Lead image: Persimmon Homes)

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Port Talbot

Police launch appeal to find missing disabled woman

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South Wales Police have launched an appeal to find missing Waunarlwydd woman, Kelly Randell.

45 year-old Kelly was last seen in Port Talbot on Tuesday 3 May.

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A wheelchair user with one leg, Kelly is described as being around 5ft of medium build with brown hair which is tied up – possibly in a bun.

She was last seen wearing black jeans and a black coat.

She has links to both Swansea and Port Talbot.

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Kelly, or who has information which will help them to find her, to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200149152.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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