Scheme to treat more sick residents in their care homes is improving outcomes

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A scheme in Hertfordshire that aims to help care home residents get healthcare in their homes is helping people live longer and happier lives, its architects say.

Hertfordshire County Council has been with with East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group and the Hertfordshire Care Providers Association and NHS England on a programme called Care Homes Vanguard, which works to keep residents out of hospital through regular visits from a dedicated GP practice, better trained staff, patient record sharing and expert medication reviews.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Hertfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health, explains: “This is a ground-breaking and ambitious scheme which has the potential to help our care home residents live healthier for longer.  It also demonstrates Hertfordshire’s commitment to investing in our care workforce, making sure they have access to high quality training and opportunities for real career progression.”

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“The project was chosen from 269 others as one of the most innovative in the country. It is the product of years of close working between the three partners,” said CCG vice chair and GP, Dr Nicky Williams who is leading on the project for the CCG.

Research shows that care home residents with complex and long-term conditions are often taken to hospital and sent back the same day. This is not only unsettling for the patient, but adds to the strain on the ambulance service and A&E departments.

A group of homes in Broxbourne, Baldock, Cheshunt, Hitchin, Stevenage, Ware and Welwyn are the first to benefit from what is called a Complex Care Premium achieved by training staff across five key pathways – dementia, nutrition, falls and fragility, wound management and health (including end of life, continence, neurological and respiratory conditions).

The additional training is also facilitating quick discharges from hospitals back to care homes and enabling care homes to take residents with more complex needs.

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