Rapid Response teams pair up with paramedics to treat elderly patients at home

Published: 13th December 2022


CLCH rapid response teams in Merton and Wandsworth are working with London Ambulance Service (LAS) to deliver a new urgent care initiative that provides holistic care and treatment to elderly and frail patients.

The ground-breaking new scheme sees paramedic and community teams working together in Urgent Community Response Cars to treat patients at home rather than them being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

The car is staffed by LAS paramedics and community nurses from four community providers across south west London, including nurses from Merton and Wandsworth rapid response services.

So far, since the launch of the pilot, CLCH rapid response teams have worked with paramedics to respond to almost 150 patients at home, helping them to avoid an unnecessary trip to hospital.

Around 10% of 999 calls to LAS are from the elderly, and this number increases in winter as people have more falls. As well as responding to fallers, the community nurses support elderly people with minor wounds, injuries, infections and catheter problems, as well as those needing palliative or end of life care.

During the visit, the nurses assess the patient’s house to make sure it’s safe and complete an Electronic Patient Care Record (ePCR) before referring them to their GP or to an urgent community response team.

Fiona Geekie, Nurse Practitioner Rapid Response at CLCH said: “It is great to be working in partnership with paramedics to respond to elderly and frail patients in the community and get them back on their feet. Working together means we are able to learn from each other, share skills and improve outcomes for patients. Already, patients and families are sharing positive feedback and they are grateful for the quick response.”

Elizabeth Chapman, Clinical Business Unit Manager for Merton Unplanned Care at CLCH said: "I am really pleased and impressed with how quickly our rapid response team has embraced the pilot, and our ability to show collaborative working at its best while serving patients in Merton and Wandsworth.”

Alison Blakely, Director of Clinical Pathways and Transformation at London Ambulance Service, said: “Until now, many of these patients would have been taken to hospital. But we know with treatment and support at home or in a community setting, most of those don’t need to go to a busy Emergency Department or be admitted to a ward – and most don’t want to go.

“Just weeks into this scheme and the early results are very promising and the feedback is good – our patients are happy to get the right treatment at home. This is a great start to our new pilot project, and I hope will reassure older people across the capital, as well as those with elderly relatives and loved ones.

“This is making a real difference to patient experience – not to mention relieving the pressure on hospitals."

(Pictured on the right: Lucy Higgins, Senior Rapid Response Nurse at CLCH and Lauren Rixon, Paramedic at London Ambulance Service). 

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