The Northern Trust has introduced dedicated teams that provide East Antrim with access to local health and social care workers locally.
Each team includes community nursing, social work and occupational therapy staff and is closely aligned to a range of other recovery and support services.
These services are based at Larne’s Moyle Hospital , Carrickfergus Health Centre and the Newtownabbey Community Services building in Rathcoole.
The teams support people in the East Antrim community by providing services in the local area and providing care to people in their own homes.
Melanie Philips, Assistant Director Community Care, said: “It is a more integrated approach to the delivery of care - being delivered at the right time, in the right place by the right person, locally based services for local people.
“It is a person centred approach based around GP practices.”
The arrangement is part of a restructure which took place in the Northern Trust last October.
It operates in association with GP practices. Patients will have a named social worker, occupational therapist and community nurse.
An electronic referral system means that GPs can organise and refer to whatever health or care services patients require.
Melanie continued: “Our drive is to keep people at home and ease pressure on Antrim Hospital.
“People generally want to be at home.”
With a focus on “re-enablement”, domicillary care workers will work alongside local teams.
“A big emphasis is on promoting independence, reducing reliance on the acute sector,” Melanie continued.
She said that feedback from the new system has been “very positive” and appears to be “what people want”.
In addition, “community hospital” care is available at Inver House, in Larne providing 16 beds of rehabilitation services and respite care at Lisgarel, in Larne, Joymount in Carrick and Clonmore, in Newtownabbey.
Melanie added: “The emphasis is on local services for local people.”
Phil Hughes, Director of Community Care for the Northern Trust commented: “It means that rather than services operating independently, they are now fully integrated and work together for that area. It also allows teams to work more closely with GP practices to provide a joined up primary, community and social care service. We can combine resources to help the people in that area.”