40 per cent of emergency admissions from care homes are avoidable

Four in 10 emergency admissions to hospital from care homes could be avoided, according to new analysis.

In response, the Improvement Analytics Unit, a joint initiative between NHS England and the Health Foundation, has called for better preventative care, community support or NHS care in care homes.

The briefing, Emergency admissions to hospital from care homes: how often and what for? showed that avoidable admissions related to chest infections, pressure sores and urinary tract infections. Nearly one in 12 emergency admissions to hospital are for people living in a care home, an estimated 192,000 emergency admissions each year.

There were approximately 32 per cent more A&E attendances and 22 per cent more emergency admissions from residential care homes than from nursing homes, where residents receive in-house nursing care.  

The research also includes evaluations of the pilot Enhanced Health in Care Homes project, where care homes receive improved support from GPs, dieticians and clinical pharmacists.

This showed reductions of potentially avoidable emergency admissions to hospital of up to 27 per cent, decreases in emergency admissions of up to 23 per cent or reductions in A&E visits of up to 29 per cent from care home residents in three of the four pilot sites.

Adam Steventon, director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: “Emergency admissions to hospital can expose care home residents to stress, loss of independence, risk of infection and rapid muscle deterioration. Around 70 per cent of care home residents have dementia and can find the hospital environment even more stressful and disorienting as a result. Reducing avoidable emergency admissions and A&E attendances is good for residents and will help reduce pressure on the NHS.”

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