Haven Court, South Tyneside’s £9m centre of excellence for joined-up care for older people, which is expected to be the largest of its kind in the country, will open later this year.
The state-of-the-art hub, which will provide integrated health and social care services for the Borough’s older people, their carers and families on behalf of South Tyneside Council, is being built in South Shields, in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital, by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
Work on it began in Spring 2015 and has gathered pace over the last few months, with a daily average of 80-plus multi-skilled workers on-site and the quality and character of the building emerging almost on a daily basis. The development has seen 90% of business going to North East firms, with 15 regional firms securing new contracts.
Following the foundation work, the steelwork began on target at the end of June. By July, the centre was visibly taking shape through the rapidly emerging steel structure, Despite no fewer than eight storms since the end of November, the steelwork forming the external shell is now complete, allowing Robertson Construction, which has extensive experience of delivering high quality healthcare programmes in the North East, to move towards the completion of the outer skin of the building and of the internal areas.
All the walls inside have been formed, which has enabled progress on the installation of mechanical and electrical services, and roof works are ongoing.
Trust chief executive Steve Williamson says Haven Court will be a beacon of excellence for care for older people for years to come. He added: “Our vision is to be the premier combined hospital, community and wellbeing provider in the North East by 2020 and this integrated care services hub is one of the major initiatives which will help us to realise this ambition.
“At Haven Court, we will be working with South Tyneside Council and key health, social care and voluntary sector agencies to improve the health and wellbeing of our growing ageing population and the increasing numbers of people with dementia.”
The decision to invest in the new centre was taken against a background of an ageing population. Currently, older people make up 18% of the Borough’s population but this is estimated to rise to 21% by 2021. By 2030, there is expected to be a 50% rise in the cases of dementia and a 138% increase among those aged over 90.
Councillor Mary Butler, Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Support Services at South Tyneside Council, said: “This new facility will enable us to offer more support to the Borough’s older population to enable them to live independently in their community for as long as possible. By offering more joined-up services, we will be able to enhance the quality of life for our older people and those who care for them.”
The key aim of helping older people to live independently for as long as possible will be achieved by providing appropriate support in the form of health and social care expertise wrapped around each individual.
Haven Court will provide a wide range of high quality support and services, including residential, day and respite care and rehabilitation.
There will be 80 beds, with around 30 people living on the site and others accessing beds for short breaks when their carers are on holiday or before going back to live at home.
The centre will also be a source of information and advice, as well as help to use technological aids to support independent living. In addition, there will be rooms for medical consultations and assessments of people’s needs.
The design of the facility by P+HS Architects has been created to allow flexibility to cater for different clinical needs and for those with varying degrees of dementia, with features such as special colour schemes to help people find their way around and, again, support independent living.
The name, Haven Court, was chosen following a competition, with the winner being selected by a panel including Mr Williamson and Coun Butler. It was submitted by Suzan Craven, who will be invited to attend the official opening of the facility.
Mr Williamson said: “We felt Haven Court was a very fitting name for our centre. A haven is a safe, peaceful place and the concept has strong links with South Tyneside so we felt it was totally appropriate. I would like to thank everyone who submitted names for consideration.
“We had a fantastic response, which demonstrated that people are already taking pride in what will be a wonderful addition to the Borough’s older people’s services. Several people suggested ‘haven’ in the name so, in the end, we had to put their names in a hat and draw a winner.”
Mrs Craven, who works in administration with the Trust’s health visiting service, said: “I thought of the name because it represents somewhere peaceful and safe, which I think is important for older people and their families.”