'Hospital at home' not in hospital

Published on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 11:30
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

A project which has enabled 80 per cent of patients to stay in their home rather than being admitted to hospital, is to be adapted for use across Scotland.


NHS boards and their local authority partners are trialling models similar to the 'Hospital at Home' initiative, which has been piloted by North Lanarkshire Partnership.

It involves a team of nurses, allied health professionals, healthcare support workers, social care staff, GPs and consultants caring for patients at home, allowing them to remain in familiar surroundings with family and friends close by.

It has seen 80 per cent of patients referred, who are all over 65, able to remain at home.

This is one example of how more joined up working between health boards and local authorities is enabling more people to be treated in their local community.

Speaking today at the 'Building the Connection' event run by the Alliance Scotland, Health Secretary Alex Neil announced the roll out of the project as he set out final plans to legislate for the integration of adult health and social care.

Mr Neil said:

"We know that in Scotland more people are living for longer, and this brings challenges in terms of the way we plan for, organise and deliver our health and social care services, particularly for people in their later years.

"The NHS doesn't stand still. It is currently in a period of transition, as the balance of care shifts towards more community care and shorter hospital stays.

"No-one wants to be in hospital longer than they should be. The hospital at home project is just one example where a more joined up approach between health boards and councils and between specialist and community services is benefitting patients, and enabling them to live more independent lives.

"Through closer working between local authorities and health boards, we expect to see improvements in the quality of care our patients and service users receive.

"By allowing people to be treated closer to home, and adopting a more community-based approach, this will help us to improve health and social care, consistently, for older people in all parts of the country.

"These changes represent the radical change that is needed to improve care across adult health and social care services, and in particular care for older people."

John Power, 72, from Lanarkshire, has already benefitted from the hospital at home scheme.

He received care at home to prevent two further hospital admissions, following an initial stay in hospital with bronchitis.

He said: "I can't thank the team enough – there is no doubt that without them, I would have been re-admitted to hospital. I much prefer being in my own home than in hospital."

As the shift in the balance of care moves more towards care and support in the community, the number of community nurses and midwives has increased by 21 per cent since 2006, from 8,198.7 whole time equivalent (WTE) on 30 September 2006 to 9,889.8 WTE on 31 December 2012.

The joined up approach is already working well in some areas of Scotland.

In Highland a ground breaking Partnership Agreement was signed in March 2012 to successfully establish a lead agency model in Highland.

This involved 1400 Council staff and £89 million transferring to NHS Highland, and 200 NHS staff and £8 million moving to the Council.

This means adult health and social care services are managed though a single budget and a single management system.

Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley have implemented a reablement service, which provides support to help people to live independently in their own homes, and has seen a 30 per cent reduction in the number of older people in care homes since 2009.

A discharge hub has been established in Hairmyres Hospital to reduce the delays experienced by people who required additional services before they can be discharged home.

It brings together a multidisciplinary and multi-agency team to assess support needs for patients and carers, and arrange for faster and more streamlined discharge.

Since being established it has seen an average reduction of around 20 patients per day who would previously have been in Hairmyres Hospital pending access to home care.

Source: Scottish Government

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