Supporting patients through isolation due to Covid/Covid Symptoms
The SPA (Single Point of Access) Hub is a service set up to monitor patients who are isolating due to having Covid symptoms or having tested positive for Covid. Nimbuscare Ltd and York CVS (Centre for Voluntary Service) work in collaboration to provide various levels of support – from ensuring that patients have access to food and medication, delivering oximeters to phoning them so as to monitor their symptoms.
Set up during the first wave of COVID in March 2020, the Spa Hub initially only had four dedicated volunteers. There are now 23 dedicated volunteers plus Nimbuscare admin staff, all of whom have different skills and experiences to bring: among these are retired GPs, counsellors, police, furloughed workers and two project managers who fit in their calls during their lunch breaks!
Any patient who has been for a Covid test, called 111 or contacted any healthcare professional is added to a register, which logs their name, phone number, DOB, registered GP practice but no medical details. When patients are initially contacted, volunteers ask if they can link patients up with any extra support; if it is a medical issue, they are referred to their practice, but admin staff/volunteers help with lots of other things. Spa Hub Co-ordinator, Stef Lambert explains ““My colleagues and I have sorted volunteer food deliveries, prescription deliveries, food bank parcels, and oxygen monitor deliveries, as well as exploring how to help with some more unusual requests (like volunteer dog walking!). Even when someone is well supported in a practical sense, they have often said they find it hugely valuable and reassuring that they can chat to someone about the pain, the isolation, and the boredom. The SPA Hub works brilliantly because the volunteers are so kind and intuitive - they pick up on what people need so quickly. It also works because of the strong network of volunteers and wealth of community spirit in York.”
The Spa Hub has a direct line to the patients’ GP Practises and can, if needed, call an ambulance for them. Spa Hub support is available 24/7. Patients themselves choose how frequently they would like to be called, some opting for daily phone calls, some every few days etc. Overall, it provides excellent wraparound service. Patients can also choose not to be part of this.
A recent and very positive addition to the service is pulse oximeters - small monitors placed onto the finger, which measure a patient’s breathing by detecting blood oxygen content (SATS). They are available for all SPA Hub patients and follow a ‘traffic light’ good/danger zone system, explained in an accompanying leaflet. GoodGym volunteers in particular have been indispensable to CVS/Nimbuscare's efforts to get oximeters delivered to patients – either by bike or on foot. Since rolling out the oximeter deliveries, patients have been admitted to hospital based on their readings, meaning that medical staff can intervene earlier and the patients have a better chance of recovery.
Nimbuscare’s Libby Edwards says - “The patients we contact through the SPA Hub Monitoring Service are so thankful for the call and they really appreciate the callers checking in with them throughout their time self-isolating. For the callers, it feels like we have helped assist those in our community who have tested positive for Covid-19.”
Volunteer Kathryn Milner agrees - “It has been amazing that I can do something useful to help during the pandemic. I have spoken to some lovely people who have been really grateful to know there is a network out there to support them. Others have appreciated having someone different to talk to while they are self-isolating.”