fbpx

Southland’s REACH Team Celebrates 5th Birthday and No Waiting List!

Nov 04, 2020
970 Views

A service that provides community based rehabilitation helping Southlanders to recover and make the transition back to their daily lives after hospitalisation is celebrating not only its fifth birthday, but the benefits of an increase in staffing.

This means there is now no waiting list, and Southlanders can access the popular service as soon as they need it.

The REACH (Rehabilitation Early Assessment in the Community and Home) service began in December 2015, and involves a multidisciplinary team which provides important occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language therapy and social work services to patients after they leave hospital.

The service sees a wide range of patients, with the majority having neurological conditions such as stroke, says Physiotherapist, Ruth Forbes.

The success of the approach has led to high demand for the service. And now, with a recent increase in staffing, Ruth happily reports that “In December the service will celebrate its fifth birthday in good shape, despite a year where COVID-19 caused several months’ disruption to our home visits”.

“The team was designed to work with people immediately upon leaving hospital, and with a recently approved increase in staffing, we are delighted that we currently no longer have patients having to wait for their rehabilitation,” she says.

The tight-knit team of eight, includes three occupational therapists, two physiotherapists, a speech language therapist, a social worker and a rehabilitation assistant, who provide six weeks’ support for patients over 16 years of age, but this can be extended to 12 weeks when required.

Ruth says they make a really able and competent team, where everyone has the same focus. “We all get on really well, are all good communicators and everyone is working in the same direction.”

Referrals to REACH are made from inpatient services at, but not limited to, Southland Hospital, ISIS Centre at Wakari Hospital and Burwood Hospitals, for patients who live in a 45 minute radius from Southland Hospital. For patients living beyond the 45 minute geographical boundary, other options for rehabilitation input can be explored through the REACH team.

The team’s first visit to a new patient is done as a joint visit with the most appropriate therapist for the patient’s needs, where they introduce themselves and the service and work to understand the patient’s needs and rehabilitation goals.

The occupational therapists look after the functional aspects of the patient’s everyday life including cognition, vision and sensory functioning, upper limb therapy, personal cares, returning to leisure activities and work etc. The physiotherapists’ sphere is exercises and mobility, improving physical functioning of upper and lower limb, working towards their goals of returning to everyday activities, and the speech language therapist oversees verbal and written communication, comprehension, as well as swallow assessments. The social worker looks after financial concerns and emotional wellbeing, and the rehabilitation assistant ensures the patient helps to deliver the programmes that each of the disciplines put in place.

“By visiting our patients at home we also make it easier for people to access our services, including those people with driving restrictions because of medical conditions, or people with disabilities that might find it difficult to travel to the hospital. Treatment sessions may also be provided at the hospital where appropriate (e.g. attending Hydrotherapy), and sometimes in the community such as shops, public amenities, leisure facilities and workplaces as required.

“Sometimes people can find it a bit overwhelming at first with us popping in several times a week to visit them at home, but often they quickly experience improvements in their functioning, and by the end of the six or 12 weeks they are usually really sad to see us go.”

Ruth is an advocate for every service having a multidisciplinary team, because “it is easier and less confusing for patients, and provides a better, more cohesive service”.

REACH is a definite Southland success story. So what’s the secret to their success?

“The best part is that we are a really close-knit team who works well together for the benefit of the patients,” Ruth says.

Work On Re-Surfacing Busy Invers Intersection About To Start.
News
3133 views
News
3133 views

Work On Re-Surfacing Busy Invers Intersection About To Start.

Malcolm Gayfer - Nov 23, 2020

Arguably one of the most unkempt intersections in Invers is in for a make over this week. The intersection of…

Ambassador Braves Elements To Unveil Plaque Honoring Early Hungarian Settlers
News, Tuatapere
140 views
News, Tuatapere
140 views

Ambassador Braves Elements To Unveil Plaque Honoring Early Hungarian Settlers

Malcolm Gayfer - Nov 23, 2020

The arrival of new settlers to western Southland from the other side of the world was marked on Saturday. The…

The Life Magazine Released, Celebrating Kindness and Resilience
Community, Lifestyle
715 views
Community, Lifestyle
715 views

The Life Magazine Released, Celebrating Kindness and Resilience

News Desk - Nov 23, 2020

Invercargill marketing agency Market South is proud to once again showcase the heroes of the south, with the release of…

New Museum Set to Open on Stewart Island Rakiura
News, Southland
580 views
News, Southland
580 views

New Museum Set to Open on Stewart Island Rakiura

News Desk - Nov 23, 2020

Stewart Island Rakiura's museum was first built in 1960 - to house an abundance of island treasures. Back then, it…

Mayor Shadbolt Responds To DIA Report
Invercargill City Council, News
1817 views
Invercargill City Council, News
1817 views

Mayor Shadbolt Responds To DIA Report

Aimee Wilson - Nov 23, 2020

The Department of Internal Affairs has spoken and Invercargill City Mayor Tim Shadbolt has responded. A subdued Shadbolt addressed the…