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Spotlight on rapid response nurse Luke Butler

Every week at BCHC the rapid response service helps over 200 patients, who would otherwise need hospital admittance. Working in the front-line of community services, we talked to Luke Butler, senior rapid response nurse to find out more about his role, and how the service operates.

I’ve been working for the trust for 15 years, first as a domestic when I was 16. My whole family has nursing in its blood. My mom, dad, my wife, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and even my brother-in-law are all either nurses, or work in healthcare.

Luke Butler rapid response nurse

My first job was at Moseley hospital. When I joined the hospital the rapid response team had just launched. It was a brand new service so I had loads of opportunities to grow and evolve within my role.

The rapid response team at West Heath Hospital looks after the south of the city, working in partnership with the integrated multi-disciplinary teams. 

We receive referrals from a range of healthcare practitioners, but mostly GPs. Referrals are usually for patients with chronic conditions such as a long-term condition or injury. The rapid response team can care for a patient in the home, in a similar way to if the patient was on a hospital ward, from intravenous antibiotics, to wound care, blood tests to name a few.

We visit a patient’s home to assess them and put a care plan in place which can then be handed over to other community nursing teams such as IMT. 

If a patient is ill and can’t stay in their own home, they may not need to go to an acute hospital. They may be more suited to one of our community beds, for example at Moseley Hall Hospital or West Heath. Many of our patients often prefer to stay in their own home, and nursing them there is a real privilege. 

Essentially you are their guest. We also get to assess their home environment and see if anything there is contributing to their condition, e.g. hoarding could lead to loss of medication or falls. 

We work with occupational therapists who can do an assessment and can help identify these issues and put a plan in place to improve the home environment. I enjoy working as a rapid response nurse as you get to interact one to one with patients in their home, rather than attending 30 patients in a ward. 

We want to promote our number (0300 555 1919) to inform people they can call us for help rather than going hospital. The Rapid Response service is available from 8am till 10pm, and after that there is an evening service which takes over.