Partnership working together, sharing resources between a community hospital in Weardale to a local care home, helped to ensure the sustainability of nursing care beds in the rural upper Dales.  

Because of this collaborative approach, arrangements were put in place to help Crosshill Care Home to support sustainability of nursing care beds in the rural upper Dales.  The home provides both nursing and residential care and is run by a family business, located opposite the Weardale Community Hospital which is run by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT).

The care home was unable to provide nursing staffing for some overnight shifts Recruitment of staff, particularly nursing staff, had been very challenging prior to covid, due to the very rural nature of the care home. Due to this inability to recruit nursing staff the provider contacted Durham County Council (DCC) to advise that they regrettably needed to de-register as a nursing care provider. 

A joint plan was agreed between DCC, CDDFT and the Care Quality Commission to ensure that on call support was available. An experienced senior care worker was on shift at all times able to remotely access to Crosshill nursing staff and the district nursing service if needed or a visit required.

Crosshill and CDDFT set out how they would work together to provide mutual aid and support in times of staffing pressure. DCC identified training and support for the care home staff to support service continuity, training staff as Care Home Assistant Practitioners via the Care Academy. This Partnership working has enabled us to support the sustainability of Crosshill as a nursing and residential care provider.

These arrangements built on previous strengths of Partnership working established during Covid when colleagues across health and social care worked collaboratively during the pandemic to ensure that any providers that required support received it.  Staff from community nursing and community mental health services, commissioning, adult social care, safeguarding, infection prevention and control met three times per week to share both soft intelligence and data on providers to make sure any issues were identified, support providers and risks mitigated as much as possible.