Community step down facilities have opened their doors to residents in Cwm Taf Morgannwg as an integral part of the health board’s response to COVID19.

Due to Coronavirus, our hospital wards are needed to provide emergency treatment and support for patients requiring specialist care. In order to prepare for this, we are transferring people who we feel are ready to be moved into settings within their communities, where they are at a reduced risk of being exposed to COVID19 and will be able to continue their recovery and rehabilitation closer to home.

The community step down units are at the refurbished Marsh House in Merthyr Tydfil and Abergarw Manor in Bridgend. A broad multidisciplinary team of registered general nurses, registered mental health nurses, therapists, a pharmacist, social workers and Age Connects Morgannwg is in place at each facility, with partners including Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil councils, primary care colleagues and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

As Marsh House welcomed its first cohort of patients, Deputy Head of Nursing, Primary Care and Localities, Kelly Downes said: “The facility is for patients who are not acutely unwell but need rehabilitation and ongoing support to reach their potential before their final discharge back home or into residential care. Remarkable work has been undertaken to transform the building into a warm and comfortable community step down facility in just three weeks, with partners working around the clock to get it ready.”

Marsh House manager Huw O’Neill added: “We really appreciate the support of staff who have moved here from their substantive roles with little notice. They really need to be commended and we’re grateful as we just couldn’t have done this without them.

“We are in contact with families and they have been dropping things off at the door and speaking to their loved ones from outside. One gentleman celebrated his 65th birthday and his sister came with a cake. He was able to come to the window to see her, which was really moving.”

While visits from relatives and friends are currently restricted due to government guidance, staff are making the units as homely and comfortable as possible, with patients able to wear their own clothes and bring personal possessions, such as TVs, radios and mobiles, into their room. Local organisations and schools have also donated equipment and furnishings, including fleecy blankets, toiletries, bands and masks.

Patients are encuraged to be as active as possible, with longer periods spent out of bed and with a range of activities organised each day to boost wellbeing and help with their recovery. Any members of the community with questions about the units can call Marsh House on 07901 107821 and Abergarw Manor on 07956 433951.


Community step down facilities open doors to residents
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