A pilot scheme set up by NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is helping care home residents receive proactive support to improve their health and wellbeing and reducing emergency hospital admissions.
The CCG developed its GP-led Enhanced Care Home Scheme in August 2015 working with 50 care homes and other professionals in west Leeds offering additional support for around 1,500 residents.
Residents, whose GP practices are taking part in the scheme, receive regular and more planned visits from a GP or nurse to review their healthcare needs. This includes timely access to a dedicated therapy team from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a speech and language therapist and a dietitian. In addition, a medication review is offered for all new residents admitted to a care home or on discharge from hospital.
Early evidence suggests that residents who are being supported by the proactive care team are less likely to require emergency admission to hospital. Figures suggest that there has been an overall reduction of A&E attendances and emergency admissions of just under 5% from care home residents who are being cared for through the programme.
One resident who has benefitted from the scheme is 79 year old Terence (Terry) Brook. Terry, who has Parkinson’s Disease, is a resident at Charlton Court Nursing Home and had difficulty getting out of bed leading to a number of health problems including pressure ulcers (bed sores).
After receiving support from the therapy team, Terry can now be lifted out of bed and can sit in a wheelchair or on a high backed chair to have lunch or dinner.
Mary Brook, Terry’s wife, said: “Before we received the additional support it was upsetting seeing Terry curled up in a foetal position. But once he started receiving support from the physiotherapist I just couldn’t believe the transformation. Using a combination of physical manipulation and cushions they worked some kind of magic! The care he’s received has been wonderful and now when I go to see Terry I see him sitting upright and enjoying his lunch.”
Dr Keith Miller, a GP in Headingley, Leeds who has developed the scheme, commented: “The GP-led scheme is ensuring better joint working between different healthcare professionals involved in looking after older people living in care homes in the area. Evidence suggests that it’s improving their overall experience of healthcare, as well as transferring new knowledge and skills to care home staff and reducing the need for hospital attendances. Feedback from care home managers, residents and carers is very positive, but there is still work to do.”
Emma Heeson, Project Implementation Lead for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Supporting care homes to improve the quality of life for older people is such a privilege. Our scheme enables staff to deliver services when it matters most to the individual and more importantly irrespective of who employs them. There is a huge focus on prevention as opposed to simply treating the problem; with an aspiration for maximising independence and making life not only more comfortable but hopefully more enjoyable.”
Craig McDermott, Manager at the Spinney Care Home, added: “The enhanced care home scheme has made a huge difference to the lives and wellbeing of our residents. Knowing they now have fast access to services enables them to lead a more comfortable and happy life. Previously, in some cases, we’d have to wait a number of weeks for access to services within a care home setting and now we’re lucky enough to have this fantastic scheme. We’d also have had to refer people to hospital for treatment but now it comes to us, making a huge difference to everyone and reducing impact on stretched resources at the local hospitals.”
The Enhanced Care Home Scheme has been funded by NHS Leeds West CCG until August 2017 when it will be formally evaluated. Further information on the scheme is available through a patient’s GP practice or care home.