A SUNDERLAND man is on the pathway to independence, with a joined-up health and social care team behind him every step of the way.

Eddie Bowmaker, 80, from Ryhope suffered a number of nasty falls which left him weak and unsteady. He is now getting back on his feet, after his daughter sought the assistance of Recovery at Home, a team that offers short term, community-based care to keep people out of hospital, and with the right care provided to them at home.

Retired miner, Mr Bowmaker, who lives with his wife of almost 60-years, Audrey, has a range of long- term conditions, including diabetes, macular degeneration, cancer of the prostate, bone metastasis and chronic kidney disease. Coupled with aches and pains from his falls, Eddie could have ended up seeking hospital care, but thanks to Recovery at Home, which is part of All Together Better – an NHS England funded initiative that brings together health, social care and local support organisations to deliver community based care that helps people remain as well and independent as possible – Eddie is now getting all the care he needs at home.

“It’s wonderful,” said Eddie, who is receiving regular support from physiotherapist Katy McKinney, as well as additional support from other professionals, as he needs it.

“I would not want to go to hospital if it could be at all avoided, so this means I can stay at home and have the right help offered to keep me as active as possible. I like to stay mobile and this has helped me do that.”

With physio appointments booked in regularly, and Katy able to bring in other colleagues, like an occupational therapist who will soon be visiting to assess Mr Bowmaker’s home and make any adjustments necessary to keep him mobile and to prevent further falls, the support Recovery at Home offers is designed to be as person-centred as possible.

The service, which is delivered by a team based in Leechmere, was set up to support people living with long term conditions who see a spike in their health or social care needs due to an illness or injury. Providing a rapid response service, the 24/7 team can be called at any time, and they quickly send help to people’s homes – usually within four hours – with ongoing short-term support arranged thereafter to manage the person’s condition and keep them at home and out of hospital until they are feeling better.

Audrey, Eddie’s wife, said that the support received through Recovery at Home had been a big help. She said: “It has been great to have Katy come out and give some advice and support to Eddie.

“He has suffered a number of falls, but he would hate to go into hospital. Through this service, he can get the right support and stay with me here, so it’s been excellent.”

Eddie, who is a keen gardener, has a greenhouse at a local allotment and thanks to the help of the Recovery at Home team, has even been able to carry on going to tend to his tomatoes – keeping up a 45 year passion.

“Eddie’s always had green fingers. He was forced to give up his allotment a while ago, but has kept his green house and getting there is something that is really important to him. Katy’s support has helped to get him back on his feet quickly, meaning he has been able to go to the gardens, which are just round the block, and that’s kept him happy and positive,” added Audrey.

“It really has been wonderful.”

Katy, who is a lead physiotherapist in the Recovery at Home team, said: “Despite having a number of long term health conditions, Eddie is extremely active and wants to stay that way.

“We are looking at what more we can do to ensure Eddie’s home has the adaptations needed to keep him as independent and mobile as possible, and in doing so, we hope he can continue to do the things he loves, and quickly recover from his injuries in the comfort of his home.”

To find out more about Recovery at Home and who can use this service, visit www.atbsunderland.org.uk.

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