HEALTH MATTERS: By Jenny Hinchliffe, Head of Clinical Services for the South at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
In the UK it is estimated there are 5,153 nursing homes and 12,525 residential homes caring for some 426,000 elderly and disabled people.
The main difference between the two is nursing homes offer 24 hour medical care from a qualified nurse. Residential homes usually receive visits from local community nursing teams.
In the South Holland area there are about 30 homes including those for adults with learning disabilities.
Much has recently been said about health and social care services working better together to enable patient and service users to experience ‘seamless’ care delivery.
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) has been promoting this idea for a number of years, by offering free training and education sessions for home staff through an NHS Care Home Education Project.
The project is about sharing knowledge and skills between nurses and home staff in key areas, including: prevention of pressure ulcers; falls prevention; continence promotion; palliative and end of life care.
Each subject aims to develop awareness and understanding of the relevant risk factors, steps and actions to be taken to reduce risk and harm, with the ultimate goal of keeping patients closer to home and reducing avoidable hospital admissions.
It is very much about delivering the very best care with respect and dignity by working together, to improve not only the quality, but to make prevention a focus for all staff.
At the end of last year Julie Smith was welcomed as the newly appointed Care Home Education Nurse. Julie has worked for LCHS for seven years and has experience of working in both health and social care settings. Although the project covers four key areas, staff have also found the sessions a prime opportunity to ask any burning questions about supporting patient care.
The project has been successfully introduced in South Holland, initially in the Long Sutton area. The project will continue to be rolled out across South Holland, encouraging as many homes as possible to become part of this invaluable service, with Spalding being the next area where training will be offered.