Home North East Innovative centre to promote independent living progressing well

Innovative centre to promote independent living progressing well

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(LtoR) Elisa Berry and Mark Short, Howarth Litchfield, Cllr Mary Ovens, Lisa Mussett, manager of new facility and Steve Walker, Robertson Construction.

The £5m investment to transform a former care home in Eston, to create an Intermediate Care Centre, is progressing well, according to award-winning architect, Howarth Litchfield.

The facility, formerly known as the Hillview Care Home, was owned and operated by international healthcare group, BUPA, until acquired by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council in March 2018.

It is now in the process of redevelopment into an Intermediate Care Centre and will be called The Meadowgate Centre. It will provide an integrated 40-bed residential facility with on-site therapies and community access.

The centre will provide the latest in design and technology within a therapeutic environment so that those who have recently needed to stay in hospital for any length of time, or after a fall for example, can get their independence back.

Howarth Litchfield was appointed to the scheme by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council after winning a competitive tender. The Council was keen to work with an organisation which would complement the skills of its in-house team and following the successful completion of the MyPlace scheme for the Council in 2010, as well as in depth experience of working on the delivery of several GPs’ surgeries, Howarth Litchfield was considered best suited to undertake the project.

With a brief to provide architecture and interior design support to remodel and refurbish the building up to RIBA Stage 4, Howarth Litchfield was then novated to the contractor, Robertson North East, to oversee and advise on the construction process until handover is achieved. The project manager is Identity Consult.

Howarth Litchfield director, Elisa Berry, is relishing the opportunity to work on such an innovative scheme. She said:

“At a time when people are living longer and for many, living with impaired health, this project provides a novel approach which boosts independent living, so we are delighted to form part of the solution.

“Although there have been a couple of challenges along the way, which were beyond our control, firstly, with five bats which were living in the loft space, and then, the discovery of some asbestos which required removal, one issue which we have been able to remedy, is the design of a new lift to accommodate reclining wheelchairs. The existing lift was much smaller, so we have had to devise a way of incorporating a much larger facility into an existing building which did not have the required structure.

“Fortunately, we have a tremendous working relationship with the contractor who has worked through the issues as they arise, systematically and always with good humour, and I am pleased to report that thanks the great level of cooperation between the design team, the contractor and the client, four sample rooms are to be completed this week for sign off, enabling the project to remain more or less on track for its official opening later in the year.”

The Meadowgate Centre will provide a therapeutic environment for those who can accept active reablement upon admission as well as an assessment and recovery unit for those whose recovery might take a little longer.

There will be a dedicated therapies suite where residents will receive physiotherapy and occupational therapy to regain their confidence and functional abilities. The facility incorporates a unit, termed ‘an independent living centre’, which has been designed to reflect a home/living environment where the latest assistive technologies can be showcased and advice, information sessions, demonstrations and assessment can be provided to the community so people will feel confident about managing their own health and care at home.

Further office space has been provided for our community Recovery and Independence Team to ensure safe and effective centre to home transitions and provide a base for multi-disciplinary working.

Commenting on the facility, which is expected to create over 50 new jobs in the health and social care sector, as well as several support-service jobs to help run and maintain the facility, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Mary Ovens, said:

“The Council is committed to meeting the needs of the area’s ageing population to help them live fulfilled, independent and happy lives.”

“The Meadowgate Centre in Eston will help to meet the increase in demand for rehabilitation and reablement services as well as reducing hospital admissions, enabling timely discharge from hospital and ensuring people are receiving the care that they need.”