Out of hospital team helps more patients recover at home… twice as fast

The Out of Hospital team set up in Carlisle in 2014 is supporting double the number of patients in their own homes than they previously supported at the step up step down unit at Reiver House -  and figures show they are recovering twice as fast.

Health and social care teams work together to help people recover more quickly in their own homes instead of going into hospital. When patients used to be admitted into hospital because their condition has worsened, the hospital at home team bring the services into the home.

Working together the specialist team, which includes GPs, social workers, nursing staff, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and the voluntary sector, make sure that patients receive the right services from the right people at the right time. And by working together with the patient, the speed of recovery is dramatically increased. 

Lianna Thomlinson, Nurse Practitioner, Hospital at Home, said: 

“Our service acts as a virtual ward in people’s own homes, with a multi-disciplinary team on hand 24-7. People often recover quicker at home and we support them to do that safely.”

Figures show that people using the service recover twice as fast as those in hospital and the team have been able to treat twice as many patients. The service has effectively replaced the provision of Reiver House, a step up step down unit on the grounds of the Cumberland Infirmary. The former unit had 14 beds for patients however the same resources are now being used to treat up to 30 patients. 

Treating people in their own homes saved over 10,000 hospital bed days and almost 500 stressful visits to hospital between April 2015 and March 2016, improving recovery times.

Claire Molloy said, “The figures show that we are able to help more people like Gordon recover more quickly and keep their independence which is often more difficult following a hospital stay.  We can see from the figures that it works well in Carlisle, and that out of hospital care is already proving beneficial for our communities. We now need to look at this, and recent work in Millom that has also reduced hospital admissions, to see how we can improve care outside hospital in other communities. There will need to be different solutions in different communities, there is no one size fits all, however the figures are clear that providing more care out of hospital is proving beneficial to our communities.”

Patient story 

Gordon Box from Carlisle was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries including a punctured lung, fractured ribs and unstable blood sugars in July 2016 following a fall in his garden. He spent several months in hospital recovering before being discharged in October. Following a complication only days after discharge, Gordon was referred to the Out of Hospital Team. This allowed him to avoid readmission to hospital and the team made sure he had the right support to properly recover at home. 

“The whole time I was in hospital I just wanted to be home – there’s no place like it. The out of hospital team have been marvellous and being back in my own home has definitely helped speed up my recovery.”

The team started by assessing Gordon’s needs, stabilising his medication and providing equipment to support him at home. He was given regular exercises to help his recovery which his wife, Margo, is helping him with, noticing improvements every day. She said:

“Having Gordon at home and seeing how fast he is recovering is fantastic. I can finally sleep at night knowing that the team are at the end of the phone if I need them. I have nothing but praise for the care they have provided. They’re all so polite and good humoured too.” 

Gordon is being supported to manage his conditions, including diabetes, by the multi-disciplinary team. He is eager to get back on his feet and out in his garden once again.