No Place like Home for Best in Long-Term Medical Care

Article excerpt

Byline: By Craig Thompson

A pilot scheme in Gateshead in now under way to help people with long-term illness manage their conditions at home. Craig Thompson speaks to pensioner Doreen McGinn about staying healthy ( and out of hospital

Everything is like trying to climb Mount Everest." Smiling through her pain, 70-year-old Doreen McGinn loses her breath on just the smallest journey.

"Even when I have to walk down the corridor to get my lunch, I still struggle," the former English teacher adds.

But help is at hand for Doreen, in the shape of a new health scheme designed to help her live a full life in her own home.

Instead of having to deal with an influx of patients at the region's hospitals and GP surgeries, the Chronic Disease Management scheme helps people in their living rooms.

Doreen, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, had, until now, been used to seeing her GP for medical care and support.

Now, she has a full team ready to lend her a helping hand when she needs it most.

Doreen, who retired from teaching in 1987, said: "Whenever I don't feel well, I have a contact number to ring Arlene Cubby, who is a nurse.

"She acts as a kind of link between myself and the doctor and comes around to see me if I need her."

Now, thanks to the scheme, Arlene, 28, and Doreen have struck up a friendship.

The pensioner added: "It feels wonderful to have Arlene there, we get along together really well.

"I also have an occupational therapist who comes along about once a week to help me with my exercises."

Health bosses in the region are hoping more people than ever with long-term conditions will soon be cared for in their own homes.

This includes patients with diabetes, those recovering from strokes and those, like Doreen, with breathing problems. …