Access to a single GP practice and over extended hours, to improved medicines management and to professional expertise in caring for older people can reduce emergency admissions of care home residents by 35 per cent, a study of a new primary care service in London has concluded.
In addition, these changes can reduce bed days following an emergency admission by 53 per cent, says the new Nuffield Trust report, Transforming healthcare in nursing homes.
In the pilot service, known as the Health 1000 service, a new specialist model of primary care service for older people was evaluated for its impact on residents’ use of unplanned NHS care. Four nursing homes in the London Borough of Havering with previous difficulty accessing GP services were selected to take part. The report found that lack of timely access to primary care can drive risk-averse behaviour at the homes, which meant that staff were more likely to send residents to A&E than to call the GP.
Staff taking part in the pilot told researchers that they felt more supported and more confident in managing risk as a result of having quick access to GP advice via phone and the certainty of a regular weekly visit from a GP who knew the home, staff and residents.