Summary of report content
Healthwatch Wandsworth undertook a survey of people’s experiences of intermediate care. They received a total of 25 responses, including 20 from service users.
For users of ‘Intermediate care’, time with the service is ‘a learning process’, physical and mental therapeutic rehabilitation needs to be personalised to the needs and future lifestyle of individuals. It is important that users are therefore involved throughout. Most responses generally showed that they had mostly worked in partnership with staff to get the best results. Most patients were confident they could define and discuss their personal care and treatment goals and could speak to a variety of staff members freely about this and any other issues.
Most were very enthusiastic about the care they received. Responding to questions about relations with staff, when there were reservations about the care they received, these were often quickly followed by the respondent’s opinion that the reason may be excused by the belief that staff were “doing their best”, under the circumstances. Respondents mostly saw it as their role to liaise with both internal and external ‘carers’ of all descriptions, including therapists, family and friends. The involvement of family and friends was mentioned as being one of the important aspects of Intermediate Care, and it was clear that many of the patients tried very hard to maintain the connection with these sources of support and to engage them in their progress. Many patients gave their family and friends the role of intermediaries - liaising with hospital staff and asking the questions the patients may not have felt confident to ask or understand.
Patients were confident in their ability to cope as they were discharged from rehabilitative care. All participants were aware of the fact that they would soon be leaving the treatment and they would have been reflecting on this as their discharge date grew closer. Their level of confidence in their ability to cope at this point was recognised by all involved as having a bearing on future health.
The responses about overall views on the service were largely positive. Participants appreciated support to recover and to keep well, feeling that the service offered preventative support. Most valued the social side of visiting the centres (speaking to staff and other patients, including group programmes).
Responses throughout the survey highlighted some positive impacts the service had on mental wellbeing but also that mental health was an important consideration when planning treatment because it seemed to be important for a number of patients. The location was generally felt to be easy to access by either public transport or when hospital transport was provided. However, some mentioned that they had other preferences and the sample of people spoken to may have been slightly biased by the fact that those who would find it difficult to attend may not have been able to attend.
The general impression is that people valued having a choice of care and treatment and potentially would consider how easy a service is to travel to when making a decision about their care. Throughout the survey respondents mentioned the value of the level of contact that they were receiving and went on to highlight the importance of follow-up contact with the providers of their treatment. Perhaps this was particularly important for this type of treatment which relies on a person’s motivation and commitment to activity that will help improve their own health. Most mentioned that this would best help them manage in the future and would encourage them ‘to persevere.