‘Home First’ service reduces hospital admissions

This is a joint press release  sent on behalf of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria County Council.

A new service made up of a range of health, social care and voluntary sector workers has reduced the number of people admitted to hospital from Cumberland Infirmary’s Accident and Emergency Department.

Since May 2016 more than 600 patients who would have been admitted into the Cumberland Infirmary from the Accident and Emergency department, have been able to go home thanks to the Home First service. 350 of these patients have received additional support from the team.

The Home First team work with patients as soon as they come through the door in Accident and Emergency department, (A&E), to make sure that if discharge is possible the most appropriate therapy and support is available for them to go home.

The team is made up of health professionals from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as well as Cumbria County Council and the voluntary sector.   The team comprises of Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists based in A&E who work with patients to facilitate safe and timely discharge where appropriate.

Since May 2016, 1289 patients have been referred to team. Over half of them have been assessed and safely discharged with support from Home First who would have previously been admitted.

Ann Noblett, Team Leader of the community therapists who work in A&E explained: “Although the service began in the summer of 2015, recently the service has become more focused at the front door in A&E. We have introduced new assessment paperwork that allows for rapid assessment and also acts as an onward referral to community services including Community Rehabilitation Service, Frailty and Falls Clinics, Memory Matters and Social Care. “

The programme – called Home First has received very positive feedback from patients.

Patient feedback has been very positive. Laura Lowe aged 83 from Carlisle recently attended A&E following a fall, she said: “Everybody was fantastic. I had X-rays, tests, arm put in plaster and blood taken. I couldn’t believe how good it was and the attention they gave me in such a busy place.”

Laura was then discharged home where she was able to be with her family.

Following an admission to A&E after a fall one patient said it made such a big difference and a relief to be able to go home. She was provided with equipment to help her at home and continues to do the exercises as advised by the physiotherapist.

Anita Basu, Consultant in A&E said:  “All your Home First team without exception provide an excellent, pro-active service for suitable patients in our department and make a hugely positive impact on our workload and most importantly in improving patient care”.

Emily Mechie, Occupational Therapist said: “The Home First service is very valuable to patients being able to go home without admission to hospital with the right advice, aids and/or community services in place preventing readmission where they previously would have been admitted to hospital or have gone home and struggled.”

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said, “This is a fantastic example of the joint work we are doing more effectively together across the system to ensure our patients are getting the best possible service and we are making the most of our collective resources.”

Claire Molloy, Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, “We know that keeping people in hospital for longer than they need to be is not good for them as it reduces their independence.  This service can help our patients recover more quickly without the need for a hospital stay.”