Hospital at Home is an environment that allows me to thrive - Martin Tobin

Martin Tobin is a Band 4 Assistant Practitioner - Rehabilitation and has been working in Hospital at Home within Lanarkshire for the last 6 years. Previously to that he worked in various roles within 3rd sector industries, often linked to mental health. Below he shares his thoughts around working in Hospital at Home, and his career journey to date.

Why Hospital at Home?

Throughout my career, I have developed a number of transferable skills that I can apply to my role in Hospital at Home. The key skill that I apply every single day is around working with people. In this role, you have to understand the individual, and their situation – recognising that every situation is different, and adapting your approach to that. Another thing that has followed me through my career is a desire to continuously improve myself and learn things – and Hospital at Home is an environment that allows me to thrive.

A typical day….

The thing that stands out for me about Hospital at Home is that while there are some standard elements of the role, which help provide some structure, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. It just doesn’t exist.

Every day when I come in, the daily workload is allocated. This can be varied, and includes things like NEWS, bloods, ECG, blood sugars. The usual tests you would get if you were in hospital. Depending on the patients’ treatment plan, I also undertake physical therapy with them, supporting them to move more, and undertake physical exercise. I also carry out mobility and falls assessments, and refer on to other agencies, at the same time as assisting the practitioners on a day to day basis.  In a Hospital at Home environment, you really are involved in everything, you’re a key part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Making a difference

The best thing about Hospital at Home is I feel like I make a difference. We are lucky enough to see patients through from the start to the finish of the care journey.  We’re the first contact – we can walk into any situation, and we have to know what to do. No two visits are the same. This is very attractive in a role to me. In previous roles, it felt a bit  like I was contributing to maintaining a persons life, in Hospital at Home, I feel like I can get to know a patient, and I get to see what I do making a difference.

In a ward, there is an understandable uniformity around tasks and roles. In Hospital at Home, it can often be a single person visit. You have to understand that you’re the main person there for the patient, you can be there for anything between 5 minutes to an hour. It’s a fantastic fast paced environment.

To see an unwell patient, then see them recovering, and see their reactions, and their families reaction – that gives me more of a buzz than anything. It’s the most rewarding part of the job.

Where could Hospital at Home go next?

I’d love to see this model continue to expand in Scotland. I think technology has a great part to play in the future of patient care at home. We’ve tested different opportunities, including remote monitoring, and as well as the obvious benefits to service, we also found it gave the patients a sense of comfort. We’re also looking at what options there are for point of care testing, which could save hours of waiting for results, and allow us to use that time to see patients.

Although our patients are over 65, technology is not a barrier to them. In fact, it’s the opposite, the technology they use is amazing! I definitely think looking more at this area is key.

Give it a go!

We’re seeing more and more of this type of care, and for me, Hospital at Home is the way forward. To anyone considering a career in Hospital at Home I would say do it! It’s a fast paced environment, and we all bring key individual skills depending on our background.

There is absolutely career progression in Hospital at Home. Within the band 4 role, there is a lot of scope for personal development, learning new skills and taking on more responsibility. As a band 3, there is the opportunity to learn physical therapy, cannulation – the opportunities are really wide.

It’s the best thing I ever did, and one of the most enjoyable roles I’ve ever done. If you are an employee within NHS Lanarkshire, there are opportunities to undertake a shadow shift to see if it’s for you – get in touch!