NHS England sets out 12-point plan for enhanced health in care homes

NHS England has set out a 12-point plan for enhanced health in care homes for 2020-21.

Deliverables, including time scales, will include the following:

  • weekly care home visits by a healthcare professional, including fortnightly wardrounds in care homes by GPs
  • supporting the professional development of care home staff by identifying opportunities for training and shared learning
  • working with the care home and wider system partners to address challenges the home is facing in coordination with the wider health and care system
  • delivering relevant vaccinations for care home staff
  • structured medication reviews (SMRs)

According to NHS England, evidence suggests that many people living in care homes are not having their needs assessed and addressed as well as they could be, often resulting in unnecessary, unplanned and avoidable admissions to hospital and sub-optimal medication regimes. This could account for 185,000 emergency admissions each year and 1.46 million emergency bed days, with 35-40 per cent of emergency admissions being potentially avoidable.

Under the plans for 2020-21, CCGs will support delivery of this service by holding a list of care homes in the area and agreeing the responsibilities of Primary Care Networks of healthcare professionals (PCNs) in relation to each home, including making sure that each care home is aligned to a single PCN.

NHS England is also considering whether to bring out of hours GP services under the authority of PCNs, to ensure more effective and coordinated out of hours support for care homes.

To support development of PCNs and the roll out of the enhanced care home service, NHS England is running an online survey, in which care homes may offer feedback. This closes on Wednesday 15 January.

A series of webinars will run throughout January; on Tuesday 14 January, the webinar will focus on enhanced health in care homes. Please click the links below to access the webinars at the specified times:

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