Care homes and NHS team up to spot early warning signs of ill health

Care home staff and NHS nurses are working together in a digital pilot designed to improve the quality of life of residents and reduce hospital admissions in Sheffield.

The Digital Care Home pilot is one of seven test beds across the country funded by NHS England and the Department of Health.

Philippa Hedley-Takhar, programme manager for the Digital Care Home, said: “As a result of the programme, we are building strong new partnerships between care homes and healthcare professionals for the benefit of residents, their families and the wider health and social care system.”

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Under the project, which uses technology provided by Inhealthcare, carers monitor a resident’s vital signs, including respiration rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and level of consciousness.

The information is shared with NHS nurses who provide clinical assessment and support, including prioritised GP visits, increased resident monitoring, medication reviews, or community nurse home visits.

The service has been trialled in seven care homes in Sheffield with 70 residents taking part. To date, over 35 care home workers have been trained to use the new technology.

Amanda Fields, manager at HC-One’s Alexander Court, one of the participating homes, said: “The service enables us to identify somebody who might be starting to become unwell earlier on rather than waiting for the usual symptoms to appear.

“If we are identifying people earlier and can see their stats are out of range, it gives us time to speak to their GP who can start treatment for them. That’s welcome for the patient and the local health budget.”

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