The Wandsworth care home in-reach team of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH) has been shortlisted in the ‘Care of Older People’ category at the Nursing Times awards ceremony to be held in October.
As people are generally living longer, it is expected that demand for care home places will soar over the next few years. Research shows that by 2025, 2 million people will be aged 85 and over across the UK – an increase of 500,000 since 2015.
“We are a dedicated community healthcare trust,” said Charlie Sheldon, CLCH chief nurse.
“One of the key aims of the NHS Long Term Plan is to help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions by providing great healthcare closer to home. This is at the heart of everything we do at CLCH.”
“I am delighted that the Wandsworth-based team is one of the top ten organisations throughout the country recognised for making a real difference to the quality of life for local care home residents.”
One in six people aged 85+ live in a care home permanently. But studies show that had more active health and rehabilitation support been available, some people discharged from hospital to care homes could have avoided permanent admission.
Also, many people with dementia living in care homes are not getting their health needs regularly assessed and met. One consequence of this inequity is avoidable admissions to hospital.
“Our nursing team supports staff in 15 Wandsworth care homes to deliver high standards of care to their residents,” said Clare Schumacher, CLCH clinical operations manager for the area.
“We help staff to develop their skills and confidence to identify and provide what their residents need as well as signposting other specialist services available in the community – for example, physiotherapists, mental health nurses, speech and language therapists, GPs and many more.”
By working closely with Wandsworth Council and the London Ambulance Service, the CLCH care home in-reach team is able to target homes with high call-out rates and maintains a strong visual presence by attending regular GP rounds at the care homes.
Between 2017/18 and 2018/19, there has been a:
17% reduction in A&E attendance from care home residents
28% reduction in unplanned hospital admissions
33% reduction in short-stay hospital admissions.
“We offer a rapid response call-out service (a nurse within two hours) as well as the routine three-day referral system,” added Clare Schumacher.
“Our advanced nurse practitioners can prescribe medication for patients so that treatment can begin quickly, stopping a condition escalating into something more serious.”
“Another of our valuable successes is ensuring there are clear individual care plans in place which are communicated to the residents, families and care home staff, for addressing and managing conditions.”
This type of co-ordinated healthcare for care home residents is at the forefront of NHS provision going forward.
The Wandsworth care home in-reach team is constantly looking to increase quality and will have a particular focus on improving end-of-life care for residents over the coming year.