Social care staff from Bolton Council have been praised for their vital work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Integrated Discharge Team plays a vital role to make sure that patients are able to return home or elsewhere safely and that they get the support they need.
The team of social workers is based at Royal Bolton Hospital and works with community assessment officers, nurses and admin staff.
The start of the pandemic saw the team meeting the challenge of new guidelines. This meant they had to balance the safe discharge of patients with the need for it to be timely and without delay, to reduce the risk of infection and create capacity within the hospital.
In the past 12 months they have had to plan extensively to manage workloads and have seen resources stretched during the peaks of the pandemic and over winter when hospitals are already under pressure.
Many patients have complex and ongoing health and social issues, meaning discharge from hospital to home isn’t always a straight-forward procedure.
Many of the team contracted COVID-19 from patients and along with other staff having to shield, there have been many staff shortages at times, meaning the team have regularly worked extra hours.
They have also been a vital point of contact between relatives and the hospital.
Imran Khan, Service Manager for the Integrated Discharge and Therapy Service at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “The team has displayed great compassion and empathy to family members who are not able to see their relatives during the pandemic. They have had to provide emotional support whilst also managing their own mental health and emotions.
“They have been incredibly brave and have tackled their fears head-first.
“We couldn't be prouder of how they have all pulled together to go the extra mile for patients during this difficult time.”
Cllr Andy Morgan, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Adult Services said: “The pandemic has shown how this team work together to achieve the best outcome for Bolton residents and their families.
“The team have continued to go above and beyond to support the safe discharge of patients from hospital and have supported each other in very challenging circumstances.”