06 August 2020
Columbia Ward, ELFT’s inpatient dementia assessment unit for east London currently based in Tower Hamlets is to move to Newham. The ward which is currently in the Bancroft Unit at Mile End Hospital is to move to The Cazaubon Unit at East Ham Care Centre on 19 August 2020.
 
Creating a Green 'COVID Free' Zone
The 21 bedded ward needs to move to make space for Barts Health NHS Trust, who own the site, to develop a ‘Green Zone’* which will be designed to be COVID-19 free. Barts Health want to create the space to be able to see a backlog of outpatient appointments that have built up during the pandemic. The development of the ‘Green Zone’ will also affect the Trust’s Pharmacy department which is also based in the Bancroft Unit. This will remain at Mile End but will have works done to provide a new entrance and collection hatch. 
The changes need to happen quickly in mid August to enable the ‘Green Zone’ to be established. See Barts Health website for more information about this
 
The Cazaubon Unit
The Cazaubon Unit is a spacious ward at East Ham Care Centre which has been specially designed with older adults in mind. The ward is all on one level and is bright and airy. As well as having their own room with ensuite facilities, patients will benefit from vibrant programme of activities, a sensory room and a garden. 
 
The Inpatient Dementia Assessment Service
Columbia Ward provides dementia assessment in the City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. It is a short-term assessment unit with an average length of stay of six weeks. It
provides assessment and treatment for people experiencing complex mental health problems associated with degenerative brain disorders such as dementia. Each patient receives a thorough assessment of their needs from a wide range of health professionals. Along with input from families the aim is to provide person centred care by building an understanding of a person's life history in order to meet their individual needs. Many people can be assessed as an out-patient without the need for admission. But for some, it is helpful to understand what has been happening.
 
Moving Over
Staff who work on Columbia Ward will transfer to The Cazaubon Unit keeping the same employment terms and conditions.
 
There are currently 11 patients on the ward many of whom will be discharged shortly so the move will fortunately impact on a very small number of the current inpatients. They and their families have been kept advised of these plans.
 
The move means visitors based in Tower Hamlets, The City of London and Hackney will have further to travel to visit loved ones. However, the service has developed a travel plan and will fund minicabs for frail visitors as needed. Social care, housing and voluntary organisations in the three boroughs will also need to be advised of the change of location to enable them to allow additional travel time if they need to assess a local resident prior to discharge.
 
Short-term Solution
This is a short-term solution which needs to take place quickly to enable the health care system to support the wider community post-COVID. East Ham Care Centre is a good quality environment and a modern purpose-built unit designed for the care of older people. ELFT has spoken previously about its wish to create a Centre of Excellence for the care of dementia and frail elderly patients in East London at this site. If this proposal was to be explored, the Trust would have to carry out a full consultation process in The City of London, and the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney. In the meantime, this interim solution will be an opportunity to find out the benefits and disadvantages of locating the service in Newham, and the impact on residents of these boroughs.
 
*  To protect patients and staff, Barts Health have divided their hospitals into coloured zones designed to keep COVID and non-COVID patients physically apart at all times. Each zone will have separate entrances and be staffed by individual teams. Under the new standards, wards and departments are divided into zones which correspond to the COVID-19 status of the patients – positive, negative or unknown. These zones are as follows:
·       Blue zone: For areas treating patients with COVID-19
·       Amber zone: For areas treating patients with unknown COVID-19 status
·       Green zone: For areas treating patients who do not have COVID-19
Twinned with regular testing, effective use of PPE and strict social distancing and hand hygiene practices, patients can be assured they are entering a safe hospital. 
Information Updated 13 August 2020