A new concept in community-based care backed by top health professionals could help lift the burden on health services in South Suffolk.
Pound Tree Garden B&B in Acton is the blueprint for a type of “half way house” for people who are well enough to leave hospital but need support and do not want to go into a large impersonal care home.
This new concept in care is the brainchild of leading care professional Sue Tighe, a director of Sudbury-based Caring For You Home Services.
“Extra pressure is placed on bed spaces in local hospitals because people who no longer need to stay there have nowhere suitable to go while care packages are drawn up and their homes are adapted,” she said.
“Pound Tree Garden will help free up hospital beds for those who really need them.
“Traditional care homes - while mostly doing an excellent job - can be impersonal and regimented for those needing just a minimum level of support for a short period.
“I feel passionately that small is beautiful in care services - and that’s what facilities like ours deliver.”
Pound Tree Garden B&B is the family home of local building contractor and Acton parish councillor Peter Edwards and his wife Lisa.
He built the property himself in 2015 and the couple established a popular bed and breakfast on the ground floor.
The new facility will be run alongside the bed and breakfast under the professional supervision of Sue Tighe.
It will be open to a broad spectrum of people who can manage their own personal care but require a little assistance and support.
Typical clients will be individuals or couples who require respite or convalescence, perhaps after an operation, or while recovering from illness, or possibly to allow more regular care providers such as family members to have a break or a short holiday.
The two double and one king size private rooms are all wheelchair-friendly with level entry en-suite showers and under floor heating.
A day lounge with views over the gardens and an ornamental pond offer somewhere to relax.
The couple said the home was already receiving many enquiries from potential clients.
Mrs Edwards said: “We’ve created a home from home - somewhere with a real feel-good factor where people can relax and recuperate. There will be personal menus for guests, completely flexible mealtimes and they can get up and go to bed when they like.
“We can arrange shopping trips, accompanied trips for medical appointments, visits from hairdressers and beauty therapists and we’ll encourage visits from family and friends who will be welcome for meals.”
Personal assessments of clients’ needs will be conducted by Sue Tighe who will liaise with visiting health professionals such as occupational therapists and community nurses.
Mrs Tighe and the new concept has been endorsed by Long Melford GP Dr Mark Chambers, who will officially open the new service on May 9.
He said: “I have been directing people to Sue Tighe since I first met her six years ago. She brings experience, compassion and sound common sense to the caring field.
“While there are larger institutions locally which provide similar services, there is nothing which offers the cosy convenience of Pound Tree Garden.
“There is none of the regimentation necessary in larger establishments. Guests enjoy all the freedoms they would enjoy in their own home, with full choice of mealtimes, diet and activities.
“All this in beautiful, peaceful surroundings. Care is customised to the wishes and requirements of each individual guest or couple. An ideal environment for regaining health and vitality.”
Dr Nigel Evans of Lavenham also supports the new venture
He said: “Lisa, Peter and Sue have identified a real need in the market for respite and convalescent care and I am not at all surprised that enquiries are already coming in. I do think that the whole concept is superb and deserves to succeed.”