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Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguards

In the quest to develop new care models, NHS England are piloting six enhanced health in care home vanguards with the aim of offering older people better, joined up health, care and rehabilitation services. These vanguards were selected following a rigorous process, involving workshops and the engagement of key partners and patient representative groups. Over the next few issues of Care Talk we will take a look at each of the vanguards.

This month we hear from East Lancashire CCG


Adele Thornburn

Adele Thornburn, Nursing and Quality Manager/ Care Home Vanguard Programme Manager/East Lancashire CCG (pictured) and Hannah Johnson Registered Home Manager at Castleford Care, Clitheroe, Lancashire

East Lancashire Enhance Health in Care Homes Vanguard

At East Lancashire CCG, we are leading a vanguard, in partnership with care homes in East Lancashire, and Airedale Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to support and enhance health in our care homes.  The aim is to support the delivery of high quality, efficient and consistent services and care to residents in care homes or supportive living.

There are many ways that we are doing this.  We are working in partnership with the many care homes in our area to support them and share good practice. Two of our schemes have really captured the imagination of care home residents, staff and the public. We are quite proud of them and are seeing real benefits for care home residents as well as health and care staff.

One of the schemes is known as the Red Bag scheme.  When a hospital admission is necessary it can be a bit of an upheaval for care home residents. They and their relatives can become quite anxious about this and they have told us that they worry that important information and possessions may get lost or mislaid in transit.

The red bag project describes a distinctive red bag which accompanies care home patients from their care home to hospital and back again, if they are admitted to hospital. The red bag is a convenient and portable way of ensuring that all the necessary documents and personal items accompany the care home resident and follows them from admission, during their hospital stay, and then following discharge, back to the care home.

We’ve produced a helpful film about it which people can see at: http://eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/patient-information/local-services/red-bag-scheme

We never expected to see NASA style technology being used in our care homes but incredibly it is being used across all of the care homes in East Lancashire.  Known as ‘Telemedicine’ it is creating real improvements for care home residents and staff, as well as the wider NHS.

We have found that by using telemedicine, care home residents and staff are feeling more in control and we are witnessing a reduction in the number of unnecessary hospital attendances, GP visits, and ambulance journeys.

The telemedicine project breaks new ground in the way it provides expert clinical consultations.  The innovation mirrors the technology used by NASA to ensure the health and wellbeing of its astronauts, such as Tim Peake, as they orbit Earth.

Closer to home, its aim is to improve the health of older people by helping them to stay in the comfort of their own residence wherever possible – while making best use of GP and emergency facilities.

Retaining eye-to-eye contact with the patients and their carers throughout the remote consultation, a 20-strong hospital telemedicine team based in the telemedicine hub at Airedale, rather than Cape Canaveral, provide round-the-clock diagnosis and expert opinion as and when it is needed – 24/7. The team includes former paramedics as well as specialists in dementia.

These are just two of the innovations that we are introducing to enhance health in care homes, there is more to come and we are excited about the progress we are collectively making to improve the quality of life for care home residents in East Lancashire.

Edel Harris





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