Eleanor Independent Hospital, Manchester: Covid-19 and the hospital of the future, now.

The appointment may be virtual, but the care and the results are real.

Closing physical doors.

In March 2020, like many healthcare providers in the UK and around the world, many of our Equilibrium Healthcare services were forced to close their doors in order to protect our service users and our staff. Life changed almost overnight. And while Covid-19 didn’t discriminate in who it affected, it was often the most vulnerable in society that suffered the most: isolating people from their family and friends, cutting them off from their communities, and in some cases, denying them access to their clinical teams.

Opening new ones.

Within weeks of that first wave, our team at Equilibrium Healthcare had pivoted. One of the first of its kind in the country, by early May 2020 we had set up the Florence Unit in our Moston Grange home: a designated NHS care unit that provided a safe setting for discharged Covid patients to recuperate before safely returning to their homes or care settings – an initiative that saved the NHS over 1,000 bed nights. Elsewhere across our services, our staff and service users also rallied; picking up iPads and logging into portals to help stay connected with their loved ones.

However, for our visionary leadership team, this didn’t go far enough. Driven by their instinct for innovation and their passion for empowering service users to live as independently as possible, our Equilibrium Healthcare team started to design and build a virtual consultation room in our Eleanor Independent Hospital in Manchester.

A safe way to consult.

This ground-breaking facility allows service users to meet with family members and healthcare professionals located anywhere in the world. Sensors in the floor measure height and weight, while state-of-the-art technology takes blood pressure, heart rates and more. Results are sent in real time to the service user’s doctor or consultant, who may be based in another facility or another part of the country.

People in our care often suffer from complex needs and challenges that require a wider healthcare team and support network, for example, physios and dieticians. All of this team, plus the service user’s partner or relatives, are able to interact together in the room via secure video conferencing developed by our health tech partners, Health-Connect.

Benefitting staff and service users.

The appointment may be virtual, but the care and the results are real. Care can be quicker, more efficient and more collaborative – allowing practitioners from different geographies and specialisms to consult together like never before. Collectively, the team are able to get a better overall picture of their patient’s needs and take a more coordinated and holistic approach to their overall health, wellbeing and treatment. (Part of that care includes a live video yoga class in the new fitness and wellness room, also in the Eleanor hospital. And also real).

For our service users, instead of technology and remote consulting making them feel detached from their treatment, they feel closer to it. For many individuals in our care, there are barriers to accessing external GP visits and hospital services. Removing the need to travel to and from appointments with a member of staff, service users can feel more independent and more in charge of shaping their own care.

And for staff in the Eleanor Hospital, they can link patients with emergency departments or GP appointments without the need for an in person visit, removing the distress that external visits can often put on service users.

And finally, family members and partners are able to feel more involved and included in the care of their loved ones, helping to reduce anxiety and provide comfort and support.

Tomorrow’s technology, today.

Our hospital of the future is happening today, in our Eleanor hospital in Manchester. A pioneering facility that’s set to be a prototype for future care settings and hospitals, Covid-19 may have accelerated our hospital of the future – but our commitment to improving the lives of individuals through forward-thinking and innovation is permanently embedded in what we do.

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