Paula Beaney is the Quality Assurance Director for Promedica24 and has over 25 years experience in the health and social care industry, working as a care worker, Registered Manager, Operations Director and as an Inspector for the Care Quality Commission.
A great number of people who source live-in care from us at Promedica24 are already in need of more urgent care.
Some will find themselves suddenly being discharged from hospital only to find that getting around at home has become increasingly difficult and they are losing the independence that they once enjoyed.
We have a culture in the UK of trying to get people discharged from hospital and back into the home environment as soon as possible, which is all very well until the individual or their family members realise that no care measures have been put in place. Older people are more vulnerable to falls, and whilst they do not always break bones or suffer serious injury, the traumatic event can cause them to lose confidence, become withdrawn and feel as if they have lost their independence.
Around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year according to NHS Choices, with around half of these having more frequent falls, costing the NHS more than £2.3bn per year. Hip fractures alone account for 1.8 million hospital days. This is a major issue when you consider the pressures that the NHS is currently under and the continued issue of bed blocking.
As a country we must strive to improve the transition between hospital and home. The amount of people having to return to hospital for unplanned further treatment within 30 days of being discharged is up by a fifth since 2013. We know that this can have a huge impact on physical and mental health and yet could be so easily avoided if the right provisions were in place when leaving hospital.
A good proportion of the population are not familiar with the benefits of live-in care when their health begins to deteriorate. There is an assumption that the only route of care after a hospital discharge is a care home, but this is far from the truth.
Live-in care enables a person to go back to their home and provides the quality care that they need to carry on living independently. Whether it’s around the clock care or simply receiving help washing, dressing, or cooking, our care workers are experts in keeping people living happily and healthily at home, something we would all want for ourselves.
We believe that no-one should ever be forced to move away from their home. When a new client comes to us, we ensure they are properly assessed and ensure the correct equipment is in place. Our care workers are also trained in safe moving and handling to ensure that individuals at risk of falls are well looked after and kept safe and comfortable.
Reducing unexpected emergency readmissions needs to be a top priority and could work effectively if the health and social care sectors work in partnership to put patients safety first. Too often we see a breakdown of communication, which then leads to disruptions when people are being moved around the different services and increasing demands on the NHS and social care providers.
One of our main objectives at Promedica24 is to ensure people are given a choice about where they receive care and who by. Deteriorating health should not have to mean giving up a home and potentially moving away from family, friends and pets.
I firmly believe that if an individual is introduced to live-in care at an earlier stage then fatal or life-changing falls could be prevented. As a society we need to move away from the trend of only searching for care when the need is urgent and broaden our knowledge of the variety of care options available.