Intermediate Care services – helping people #LiveNotExist

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Dee Christie is an experienced occupational therapist. She spent more than 40 years working in adult social care services as well as having held the role of Chair of the RCOT council.  She was appointed as Chair of the NICE Guideline Committee for Intermediate Care which was published on 22 September. In this blog she explains what this role entails and why Intermediate Care is such an important topic.

As a qualified occupational therapist I started work in neuro-rehabilitation, then mostly social care managing therapy/disability services whilst promoting the importance of community rehabilitation, particularly in intermediate care services.

Intermediate Care services are provided by health or social care. They are beneficial to people who have been ill or have a disability, who might be at risk of hospital admission, or who have been in hospital and need to be discharged as smoothly and quickly as possible. They support people to undertake the daily activities that are important to them and can contribute to relieving some of the pressures experienced in health and social care systems. Importantly, they support people to live, not just exist by seeing the whole person and what is important to them, not simply as a set of symptoms.

The new NICE guidelines on Intermediate Care and Reablement reinforce the recommendations in RCOT’s two Improving Lives, Saving Money reports which show that proving proactive, person centered care is both better for patients and service users but also more efficient for taxpayers. I would strongly encourage occupational therapists to read the guidelines and to bring them to the attention of their local commissioners and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership leaders.

It is vital that the recommendations are built into the heart of local service planning, design and delivery.

Chairing the guideline development committee was hard but fascinating work. The committee was drawn from a broad range of disciplines and organisations bringing extensive experience as researchers, commissioners, clinicians and providers (health, social care and private sector) as well as service users and cares.

The committee worked alongside the project team to produce the guideline and have my sincere thanks for their excellent work.

The committee made recommendations by evaluating research evidence, considering this alongside their own expertise and experience and evidence from expert witnesses. It is hoped that the recommendations will assist commissioners in health and social care to design services but also support managers and practitioners working in Intermediate Care.

Intermediate Care should be seen as a key area of service delivery that facilitates the work of both health and social care providers. With NHS leaders being warned of a difficult winter ahead, it is vital that they are implemented across the country as quickly as possible.

Dee Christie Dip COT, MA (Health Studies), CMS, MRCOT, NICE Fellow

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