Wakefield is a city found in Yorkshire, England and they are home to an exciting new project that could revolutionize home health care for the elderly. It’s not only saving money for the National Health Service (NHS), but helping to increase the effectiveness of home health care for elderly patients – and it couldn’t be easier to do.
Once a week, a selection of home health care workers are meeting together to help improve the care they administer. There’s a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a health care assistant, and three mental health nurses.
Each person come from different specialized fields, but when working in unison they have found a way to offer all-round care for each individual patient. Each of them brings something different to the table, and together it is helping them provide better care and reduce visits to the hospital.
For instance, on one occasion an elderly female patient was causing the group of carers some concern. She had taken a fall in recent weeks, so had been suffering from physical health problems, yet the group had discovered that the problems were well beyond just physical.
The physio and health care assistant discuss the problems she is dealing with, revealing that there could be a need for a psychiatric review due to anxiety. This info is then passed onto the therapists and nurses, who in turn administer their own treatments, showcasing the collaborative effort that is helping to provide comprehensive home health care in the city.
“As professionals, we are linking up,” explains one of the mental health nurses.
“We’re discussing the case between ourselves. We have links to the GP. We have links to the mental health services and we are all working together rather than in isolation.”
“We’ve seen some good results.”
This project has become widespread throughout Wakefield, with a basic goal of different facets of the health care service working together to provide a better, more effective care system, therefore easing the burden on the NHS and care homes in the area.
It certainly looks to be an effective endeavor, with results showing reduced numbers of hospital visits from patients at care home. Ambulance usage is also down, and even the elderly patients that end up visiting hospitals are spending less time there than previously.
So, not only is it keeping patients away from hospital, it is helping them get back home faster for those that do need to go.
A breakdown of the figures highlights just how viable the project is:
- 19% reduction in emergency admissions
- 12% reduction A&E attendances
- 9% reduction in ambulance call-outs
- 26% reduction in bed days
Not only is there a collaborative effort between the various health care specialists, but the staff working at care homes are getting more in-depth training than before. They are now trained in more than just basic first-aid, which is helping them to better diagnose patients whenever they fall ill, resulting in less calls for emergency services.
You won’t just find this care homes either. Home health care workers that are visiting patients in private residences and sheltered accommodation are also receiving collocative care from specialists.
Treatment is going above and beyond what was once offered, including helping elderly patients deal with loneliness and isolation. Regular meetings with patients don’t just help deal with any potential health issues, but also to get a better gauge of each individual character to help determine how they prefer to be treated.
Even those that are sent to hospital needn’t worry, as professionals there are quickly working to help get them home as soon as possible. Any information gained that helps to provide better care and reduce time spend in hospital is entered into a database for future references.
Others are getting involved too, well beyond just health care professionals. For example, housing associations are sitting in on meetings with the various health care specialists to determine how they can improve the accommodation they offer for elderly patients.
The project sees people from every facet of the care system working together to produce the best possible care for elderly patients. The fact that projects such as this are projected to save millions is just an added bonus.
While still on a small scale, it is fair to assume that home health care projects such as this one will become more widespread on a national level. Should it’s success continue, it wouldn’t see health care professionals from across the globe taking note and trying to develop similar care systems.