The research found that savings made through reduced hospital admissions and delayed transfer to nursing homes offset any potential costs of the scheme. The study suggests that the overall cost ranged from an added 2.70 British Pounds a week per resident to a more likely weekly saving of 36.90 Pounds.
The two-year pilot scheme was set up in a group of local authority residential homes caring for 131 long-term residents as a joint initiative between Bath & North East Somerset Local Authority and the local Primary Care Trust. In tandem with providing nursing and physiotherapy to residents, the dedicated team also developed the nursing skills of designated care home staff through a training programme.
Researcher Deidre Wild from University of the West of England said, “Allowing people to remain in their care homes by bringing in specialist care during episodes of illness was greatly valued by both residents and staff. Staying in a familiar environment gave care home residents a greater sense of security during challenging times.”
The dedicated team, known as 'the in-reach team', was able to detect and deal with undiagnosed illnesses, producing long-term benefits for the residents’ health and quality of life. This was especially important in cases where, due to conditions such as dementia, residents found it difficult to communicate their symptoms to staff.
The scientists reported that, during the two year study, between 80 and nearly 200 potential hospital admissions were averted, and 20 early discharges made possible.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of the West of England