latest health care news

06.04.18

New GP nursing home support scheme cuts emergency admissions by a third

A new GP service offering seven-day-a-week support to four nursing homes has reduced emergency hospital admission by more than a third, according to the Nuffield Trust.

The think tank’s comprehensive study of the service, piloted in Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs, found that the largest reduction happened during the last three months of a person’s life.

Emergency bed days spent in hospital halved, and the scheme provided a better quality of care for patients.

The scheme, called Health 1000, offers nursing homes access to a seven-day-a-week GP support service from 8am to 8pm, as well as training and advice for care home workers and help from a geriatrician.

After registering with the scheme, emergency inpatient admissions fell by 36%, compared to 4% in nursing homes not using the service. This is estimated to be worth as much as £1,000 per person per year, although this is not necessarily directly equivalent to actual cash savings for commissioners or providers.

Previously, a lack of timely advice from a medical professional with good knowledge of the homes meant that staff working in the nursing homes felt risk-averse and so were more likely to send a resident to A&E, whereas staff reported feeling more supported and confident as a result of the new service.

Author and senior research analyst at the Nuffield Trust, Chris Sherlaw-Johnson, said: “When social care and hospital services are under severe pressure it is encouraging to have found a service that appears to show real benefits for nursing home residents and staff.

“This research shows how primary care may be able to take the burden off local hospitals as well as offering better quality of care in a more comfortable environment.”

However, he cautioned that the long-term sustainability of these findings is not clear and that organisations wishing to replicate the service must note that its success relies on building and maintaining effective relationships between staff and GPs.

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