A Joseph Rowntree Foundation report this week has found introducing dedicated community nursing and physiotherapy teams into residential care homes for older people significantly reduces hospital admissions and produces large savings.
The report evaluates a two-year pilot, covering 131 long-term residents of three council-run residential homes in the Bath and North East Somerset, in a joint council and primary care trust initiative.
Cuts in hospital admissions
Researchers from Warwick University and the University of the West of England found up to 200 potential hospital admissions were averted and 20 early discharges made possible.
The team provided nursing and physiotherapy to residents, and trained staff in additional nursing skills. A major part of the its work was to detect and deal with undiagnosed illness, and people could be treated in their care homes. The researchers said the pilot demonstrated the need for more detailed health assessments of residents in care homes.
Professor Ala Szczepura, of Warwick University, said: “Beyond the clear benefits cited by residents and staff, we estimate that investment in such a service could produce savings of up to £250,000 per annum to the primary care trust and local authority.”
Pilot schemes lead to drop in older people’s emergency hospital admission