One in three patients sat in a hospital bed today, are well enough to leave the ward. The NHS in North West London is working with local councils and voluntary organisations to get patients ‘Home first’.
Since launching last year, more than 1,500 older patients have returned home on average two days earlier thanks to the ‘Home first’ initiative.
‘Home first’ launched in North West London hospitals in summer 2017. Traditionally, once well enough, older patients would be assessed whilst still in hospital to see whether they need help to continue their recovery at home. Through ‘Home first’ patients’ care needs are assessed in their own homes. Being in a comfortable and familiar environment provides a better indication of any additional support they may need.
Supporting older patients at home means:
They recover better and are less likely to go back into hospital
they are less likely to catch an infection or get pressure ulcers
hospitals have more beds available for scheduled operations and emergency care.
For every day an older patient stays in a hospital bed, they can lose 10 per cent of their muscle strength because they are not following their usual routines. ‘Home first’ aims to reduce length of stay for elderly hospital inpatients and reduce their risk of requiring long-term residential care.
Kantilal Patel, 83, a retired store manager from India, admitted to Northwick Park Hospital following a mild stroke and sent home through ‘Home first’ said: “I was well looked after in hospital. I had all the treatment and medication that I needed and the staff were excellent day and night. Once I was ready to leave hospital they got all my medication ready and an occupational therapist accompanied me home. They provided me with all the equipment I needed. The support provided for me was perfect. I was soon able to start doing things for myself.”
Karen Seah, Senior Occupational Therapist for ‘Home first’ at Northwick Park Hospital said: “’Home first’ enables us to provide a swift service that is focussed on patient safety. By assessing patients at home they are reassured that they are safe in their home environment with additional support if necessary. Therapists can also take time to identify each individual’s care needs and ensure the right support and equipment is in place.”
‘Home first’ allows North West London’s NHS to use resources more effectively by providing the support patients actually need rather than trying to fit them into existing standard care packages and procedures.
‘Home first’ has challenged our old way of doing things and is a great example of how the NHS, local council staff and voluntary organisations are working together to ensure that patients and their carers have a better recovery and experience.