In England, around 10,000 patients are in hospital who don’t need to be there but can’t or haven’t been discharged. The impact of this is often felt in A&E departments that have people they need to admit, but aren’t able to, because there are no beds available. Ensuring that people receive care closer to home without the need to go into hospital unnecessarily is one of our priorities in Lincolnshire. People, by large, fare better when convalescing in their own homes – both physically and mentally. It is often said that for every 10 days of bed rest in a hospital, the equivalent of 10 years of muscle ageing occurs in people over 80 years old.
Across Lincolnshire, there are several initiatives designed to treat patients in their own homes, removing the need to come to a hospital in the first instance. Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust has recently launched an Urgent Community Response pilot service. A team of skilled professionals provides a two-hour crisis support for people to manage their immediate needs at home, or a place they call home, with appropriate support from community services. This service helps to prevent patients from going to a hospital unnecessarily. So far, since its launch in October, the Urgent Community Response has received over 200 referrals and only 11% patients needed to be admitted to an acute hospital while 89% remained at home, care home or were offered support in a community hospital. The service is open for referrals from all health and social care professionals in Lincolnshire.
And across the Midlands EMAS will soon be working closely with care homes to use smart tablets to assess patients that have fallen to see if they need an ambulance or another service. This should help reduce the number of call-outs and get the patient treated more quickly.