SCIE press release

Avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions

19 September 2012

When I first came here, referring to hospital was often the norm. It was a knee-jerk reaction; staff wanted a professional opinion. My strategy has been to give staff the skills and confidence to deal with many situations as they arise

Mike Richardson, Manager, Lime Court residential home, Essex, on Social Care TV

There is much in the news about the pressure that is being placed on busy hospitals, often because of the increasing numbers of older people. Today, three new films are launched on Social Care TV, which explore the realities behind the headlines. Older people often have complex health care needs which require a range of health and social care interventions, including hospital admissions when necessary. The films look at what steps can be taken to help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

The films will be invaluable to a range of professionals, from social care commissioners to community nurses, through to health and social care policy makers. The first talks to a range of health and social care experts about the current policy and practice approach to avoiding un-necessary hospital admissions.

The second film looks at the work of a community ward based in Wandsworth and examines the impact this joint working between health and social care has on older people and their carers.

The third film looks at how unnecessary hospital admissions amongst care home residents can be reduced, despite their complex health care needs and high levels of dependency. It identifies a number of issues that can be tackled, for instance, by focusing on dementia, infection control, avoiding falls, managing medication, improving nutrition and good end of life care.

There are a range of tips and recommendations for staff and managers. Here are a few:

SCIE's Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, says:

I strongly recommend anyone interested in the practical benefits of integrated health and social care, takes the time to watch these three short films from SCIE. They really demonstrate what can be achieved when services work together to meet the needs of older people and their carers.

Older people can often have complex health needs and sometimes should be admitted to hospital. But Mr Clark, shown in one of the films, gives voice to the feelings of many older people when he says 'I don't want to be in hospital.'

The films highlight the practical steps that can be taken in care homes, and in the community, to support the health and well-being of older people, so that early warning signs can be heeded, deterioration avoided and unnecessary hospital admissions prevented.

Case study - The Wandsworth Community Ward

In this film, we meet Mr Clark and Mr and Mrs Dennison. They are supported by a multi-disciplinary team so that they receive healthcare and social care support in their homes; Wandsworth's approach brings together the GP, social worker, advanced nurse practitioner, pharmacist and community matron, and it makes effective use of telehealth to monitor people's physical wellbeing. The film explores the impact that a community ward can have on the health and wellbeing of older people with complex health care needs. Although more research is needed on the economic benefits of this initiative, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is helping to avoid some hospital admissions, whilst providing better outcomes for people like Mr Clark and Mr and Mrs Dennison. Mr Clark's view is that the community ward is 'completely and utterly brilliant'.

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Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk