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News archive - March 2014

The future of neuro rehabilitation

The future of neuro rehabilitation

The country’s first purpose-built neuro and spinal rehabilitation centre has opened in Middlesbrough, setting a new standard for long-term treatment and helping the NHS to save millions of pounds.

The Gateway has been developed to support the NHS in terms of facilitating quicker discharge from hospital, reducing long-term care costs, and helping patients to live more independent lives.

Designed by P+HS Architects and commissioned by rehab specialist, Keiro, and Erimus Housing, the pioneering £10m facility has been dubbed ‘the future of neuro rehab’, and is the first of Keiro’s new designs to be introduced as part of its unique rehabilitation model, which it is set to roll out across the UK over the next five years.

The opening comes after research published last year by The Office of Health Economics revealed that private rehabilitation facilities could save the NHS approximately £120m, enough to pay for 5,000 newly-qualified nurses.

Best practice

Viv Watson, managing director at Keiro, said: “The UK already has fewer rehabilitation specialists per head than any other European country apart from Ireland.

“By creating The Gateway, we are helping to provide a much-needed service for clients and adopting best practice and partnerships to develop more specialist facilities and integrated service pathways across the rest of the UK.”

The 4,380sq m, six-storey development has 40 beds as well as a specialist ground-floor health and wellbeing hub with fully-integrated health club for clients and visitors, along with a range of transitional and supported housing options. The wellbeing hub is also open to non-residents to encourage and help people to retain their independence.

Watson said: “The Gateway is the future of rehab. It is the first model, which we will base the other facilities on and we expect the industry to follow suit. With state-of-the-art equipment and amenities we can provide a bespoke service for those who have been discharged from hospital-based neuro and spinal units needing long-term support, and have a significant multidisciplinary team in place providing specialist input.”

As part of the development, and alongside the main building, Teesside-based Erimus Housing has provided an array of transitional housing options to enable residents to move towards more community living options and living independently.

Watson said: “An array of specialist support in the transitional houses to promote independent living, along with the use of onsite hub facilities, not only builds confidence in the patient, but assists and supports their families too, who can stay with them in the property.”

An initial 12 transitional houses and apartments based on the same site enables The Gateway service to assist clients with a step forward to independent living and long-term housing options. The Gateway hub also offers a number of services from voluntary, independent, statutory and educational organisations with a knowledge centre to support clients, their families and members of the wider community to help self manage their conditions. The health and wellbeing hub hosts a hydro-pool, spa, steam room, hydro shower, gymnasium, therapy rooms and a bistro-style café for both clients and visitors.

Speaking to hdm, Joe Biggs, managing director of P+HS Architects, said: “Before The Gateway, patients with neurological or spinal injuries were treated in acute hospital settings or in elderly residential care facilities. Often these patients are relatively young so this is not the ideal setting for rehabilitation. This was the driver to design a care facility much more appropriate to the needs of clients.

Independent living

“The whole idea behind The Gateway is to provide high-quality care, but always with the intention that clients will move on to more independent living somewhere in the future.”

The development was designed to provide both private spaces and communal areas where residents can meet with others.

Biggs said: “Specialist support is always on hand, but the building has been designed to promote independence at every stage.

“There are 40 bedrooms spread over four floors, each with its own en-suite facility. They are all large in floor area to make provision for mobility aids and the other equipment necessary, but supportive devices such as hoists are discretely mounted so the rooms do not feel like medical facilities.

“Residents can choose whether to stay in their rooms or go into the communal areas.”

While the site is in an urban area - located directly adjacent to Middlesbrough College and near to Temenos, a £2.7m landmark sculpture – access to nature was key to the design, which includes outdoor spaces on each floor.

“The building creates an impressive strong focal point in the urban landscape. Visual links from within the building, particularly from within all residents’ bedrooms, reinforce the ties between The Gateway and the surrounding cityscape and community,” said Biggs.

“Because this is a very new approach, it is attracting quite a bit of attention and will no doubt form the basis of similar developments up and down the country in the future.”

To improve sustainability, The Gateway has been orientated on the site so as to maximise natural light into the rooms. In addition, brise soleil and opening windows reduce the need for mechanical ventilation, and passive infrared lights have been used where appropriate.

In the residential gardens, water butts have been installed and plants have been chosen to encourage wildlife.

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