Health Matters: Our role in local care homes

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Throughout this year, I’ve tried to tell you about the range of healthcare services you have on your doorstep.

One area we haven’t covered is the role we play with our local care and nursing homes.

For the last 18 months, south Lincolnshire has been hosting to an innovative project to help reduce the number of avoidable hospital admissions residents make.

This has involved sharing the knowledge and expertise of our qualified nurses with carers in a training project to help enhance the care they provide. Care and nursing homes can have a profound impact on health services and their carers play a key role in the safety of vulnerable people, particularly the elderly.

For the frail elderly, familiarity is everything. To remove them from their settled home environment into hospital can cause distress; this leads to confusion, angst, anger and depression. Ultimately, the effect on the patient is a longer stay in hospital as they become infirm, lose weight or acquire a secondary infection.

The average increase in hospital admissions between 2007 and 2010 was five per cent across all partnership care trusts in England.

In Lincolnshire between 2012 and 2013, 5,588 residents were admitted to hospital from residential and nursing homes.

To tackle this issue, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust developed the education and support project specifically tailored to care homes, with thanks to funding from South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans and buys healthcare for the area.

By working in partnership with the county’s care and residential homes, staff are challenged to find innovative ways to develop the service they provide.

This includes improving their knowledge and awareness in three areas; urinary tract infection prevention, falls and pressure ulcer prevention.

This project has proved to be extremely positive. So far, the project has recorded a reduction in the number of grade two, three, and four pressure ulcers by 87 per cent, there have been 71 per cent fewer falls and hospital admissions have been reduced by 54 per cent.

The home staff have worked hard to achieve these results; designing new assessment charts which alert staff to early risk, improving their confidence, communication and referrals to other health services, which has helped to reduce the number of GP and community nurse visits.

The project has also received national acclaim and has been a finalist in six awards. It was also recently published in The Nursing Times.

Well done to all involved!

Thank you to Kai Brownhill, our lead nurse for education and support to nursing homes, for helping to write this month’s column.