A project to improve care for older people in Wakefield has led to significant reductions in hospital admissions, attendances in A&E and ambulance call outs.
Wakefield Care Homes vanguard, sponsored by NICE, has improved the quality of care of its residents by bringing services together, and making them more personal for older people in supported housing and care homes.
“We’ve seen real evidence of the impact of improved quality of care on residents’ lives,” said JJ (Janice James), Director of Provider Alliance.
“The scheme has also meant reduced attendance in emergency departments. Emergency admissions have fallen by 28 %, A&E admissions have fallen by a fifth, there’s been a 14% decrease in ambulance call outs, and bed days have dropped by more than a third.”
Project developed to tackle loneliness and fragmented care
There are an estimated 570,000 people with dementia in England - a figure that is set to rise to 1.4 million over the next 30 years. As the population ages, and the number of people with multiple long-term conditions increases, healthcare services need to find new ways of tackling the rising demand.
Wakefield care homes vanguard is a project that aims to aims to tackle loneliness and fragmented care by joining up services for older people in supported housing and care homes.
Until recently, those living in their own homes did not receive the same level of care as those in residential care settings. Health and care services were also not coordinated, resulting in people seeing a number of different health and social care professionals.
Consequently the project has been trialling new ways of working. It has established an enhanced primary care service, providing a named primary care professional to care home managers.
It also created a multidisciplinary care home and extra care living scheme support team including therapists and nurses. The team works closely with a community geriatrician and pharmacists, and carries out comprehensive assessments of residents.
In addition, the project has developed a number of tools to help put individuals in charge of shaping their own care.
These include ‘Pull up a chair’, which are video diaries the team shoots with residents of care homes and tenants in Assisted Living facilities. Developed in collaboration with Age UK Wakefield District, the videos are filmed before residents move into new homes, and once they have settled in.
The interviews are compiled into themed videos for commissioners and stakeholders in care environments, and will be made available to facility staff across the district via a training tool.
Listen to a podcast to hear more details about the new models of care that Wakefield is trialling.
Work underpinned by NICE guidance
All the vanguard’s work is underpinned by NICE recommendations, such as its recent guidance on oral health in care homes.
The guideline recommends improving and maintaining residents’ day-to-day oral healthcare, ensuring staff are properly trained to confidently look after the oral health needs of residents, and that there is adequate access to dental services when needed.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, said: “As our population gets older it is increasingly important that people with age-related illnesses such as dementia get the treatment and care they deserve.
“The new models of care that Wakefield is trialling have already shown how integrated and personalised care can make a difference. We look forward to helping the vanguard further integrate NICE guidance and quality standards into their work.”
JJ (Janice James) added: “This project has allowed us to improve the quality of care for older people through new models of assessment, engagement and care.
“We value NICE’s role as a sponsor, and its input in ensuring that our project is based on evidence-based guidance and standards.”