Home care in Charnwood and North West Leicestershire 'has proved success'
A scheme to help patients get better at home will be fully implemented this week.
Health teams have been set up in Charnwood and North West Leicestershire to provide community support.
The aim is to treat patients, particularly the elderly, in their homes or to discharge them earlier from community hospitals.
The scheme began in Loughborough in November and has been extended to Coalville.
It has proved so successful one ward at Loughborough Hospital has closed and the 24-bed Whitwick Ward at Coalville Community Hospital will shut this week.
Nikki Beacher, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust's head of community health services for West Leicestershire, said: "The transfer of care from Ward 3 at Coalville Hospital into the community will be complete this week.
"We have been releasing hospital beds gradually as we have increased the availability of intensive support in the community, and we transferred the last four patients yesterday ."
All patients are assessed by an advanced nurse practitioner who co-ordinates their care, arranging visits by nurses.
GPs can refer into the scheme to save their patients from being admitted to hospital.
Ms Beacher said: "Feedback from patients and carers has been very positive to date.
"We will continue to monitor patients' outcomes and we have commissioned the University of Leicester to evaluate the new model of care.
"Patients who need the 24-hour care of a community hospital will, of course, continue to be able to receive care at Coalville Hospital."
Lucy Smith, a member of the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel and chairman of the Leicestershire Older People's Engagement Network, welcomed the scheme.
She said: "From my experience of a number of people who have been in this scheme, it appears to have been very successful because they have been able to stay in their homes.
"Providing a person's care is joined up between health and social care then I feel this is a very positive step.
"My only concern is early treatments, such as speech therapy in the case of those who have had strokes, might take longer in the community.
"As long as this is not the case, this intensive community support is a very good idea."