Renovation work is underway to transform six vacant properties in Elgin into high intensity rehabilitation units for older people.
The £120,000 project will provide a transitional option for patients ready to leave hospital but who need extra support before returning home.
The terraced cottages in Elgin’s Victoria Crescent will provide a homely environment where older people can work on regaining their independence following discharge from hospital.
During their short stay they will be supported by a team of health and social care staff to manage everyday living tasks, such as getting in and out of bed, washing and dressing, preparing meals.
Lesley Attridge, service manager for the new integrated organisation Health and Social Care Moray, said the project is unique to Moray.
She said: “Ideally returning home is the first option for older people, but sometimes the risk is too high and that is not possible due to life’s complexities.
“The cottages will enable us to deliver intensive rehabilitation which will facilitate hospital discharge and prevent additional pressure being put on our community hospitals.
“Bringing people together into an environment like this will enable staff to deliver services in a rapid and more efficient way. It will also provide a unique opportunity for the workforce to practise in a different and collaborative approach.”
Admission criteria will be established for the units and older people will be helped to transition back home as quickly as possible by occupational therapists, physiotherapists, assistants and district nurses drawn from the existing workforce, with primary care provided by GPs.
One of the cottages will be used for group rehab, social activities and to showcase how technology can help with independent living.
The cottages were originally built in 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria and are held in trust by The Moray Council.
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They were damaged by the floods of 2002 and despite repair works being undertaken, six of the eight houses have not been occupied for the last 14 years.
A proposal by Community Care to bring the properties back into use was agreed by councillors and the Jubilee Cottages will be managed by Health and Social Care Moray, the organisation which now provides joined-up adult health and social care service on behalf of the Moray Integrated Joint Board.
Success of the pilot project could see similar high intensity units created in Moray, not only for older people but other patient groups.