Home hospital unit opens

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 15:06 06/03/2014

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A new 12-bed hospital-level care unit will open today at Blenheim's Bethsaida Retirement Home and Village.

The unit, which provides 24-hour nurse-led care, will cater for a range of medical conditions for residents aged over 65.

Four residents at the home are due to move into the unit and the home is expecting further interest.

Twelve beds were converted into hospital-level care beds with en-suite bathrooms.

Four additional registered nurses have been recruited to head the unit and will be supported by health assistants.

Ministry of Health data show the number of hospital-level care bed nights in Marlborough has increased from 41,460 in 2006/07 to 46,703 in 2012/2013.

Bethsaida Retirement Home and Village manager Tracy Holdaway said there would be increasing demand for hospital-level care in rest homes as Marlborough had the highest number of over-65s per capita in New Zealand.

"People are staying home for longer with support in place. By the time they come to us they require hospital-level care," Mrs Holdaway said. "We are thrilled about this unit as now residents do not need to move to another care facility as their needs change, which means they can continue their regular routines and maintain the bonds they have with the staff."

Grant Stubbs' father, Rev David Stubbs, is one of the first residential patients to be transferred to the unit.

Rev Stubbs, 86, is a wheelchair-user and suffers from dementia. He has been living independently in the residential home for three months.

Mr Stubbs said his father's condition had deteriorated to the extent he required hospital-level care.

"We knew the hospital unit was coming and we had our fingers crossed it would come in time. If the home didn't have the unit we would have had to move him which would have been very disruptive. He has started to refer to Bethsaida as his home and loves it there. It would have been dreadful to uproot him."

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- The Marlborough Express

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