Wakefield’s Connecting Care programme has reported a reduction in the number of elderly people being admitted to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Pinderfields Hospital, thanks to partnership working through the care home vanguard.
Operating under Connecting Care, the care home vanguard programme is a unique example of how health workers, local government, voluntary organisations and private care home providers, can work together to improve patient care, and prevent older people who are care home residents being transferred and admitted to hospital unnecessarily. The programme has been piloted in 15 care homes in the district and data obtained by Wakefield CCG shows that for the 15 care homes taking part the A&E department at Pinderfields Hospital noted a consistent reduction of 20% or above of elderly patients being admitted to their department over the last year when compared to other Wakefield care homes that are not part of the vanguard.
Organisations involved in the project include The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Wakefield District Council, Age UK Wakefield District, Wakefield District Housing, and Nova Wakefield District.
A “Hospital to Home” service operates from Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals seven days a week. Commissioned by NHS Wakefield CCG and delivered by Age UK Wakefield, the service transports patients from A&E and hospital wards to their place of residence, supporting a speedy discharge for those that are stable and fit to return home, or to step down bed from hospital beds. The service has been utilised by patients across Wakefield, including the care home vanguard, with Age UK Support Workers carrying out basic one-to-one care such as contacting a family member, ensuring there is food in the fridge or referring users to other services. Although simple, these low-level needs can often result in a crisis which in turn ends up with an attendance at A&E.
Ian Bennett, Assistant Director of Nursing - Care Closer to Home, at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“Over the last year we have seen reductions in not only emergency admissions from care homes within the vanguard, but in ambulance call-outs and hospital bed days also.
“The “Hospital to Home” service is just one example of the innovative ways the Connecting Care programme is working to reduce pressures on A&E departments locally.
“By working under the partnership approach of Connecting Care, we are able to provide person-centred care which is flexible and keeps the patient within their community or as close to home as possible. The challenge now is to roll the concept out to more homes across the area.”
Age UK Wakefield District CEO, Paula Bee said “The benefit to the people we transport also extends right into our portfolio of services thanks to our skilled drivers, who are trained to actively listen and observe so they can interpret the situations they find. We have seen a record number of referrals into our Connecting Care Hub support services from this team, resulting in prompt action improving safety, health, finances and social contact for some 25% of those they have escorted home.”