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Video consultations significantly reduce fall-related hospital admissions

The use of a video consultations to assess care home residents following a fall has led to a significant reduction in the use of ambulances and emergency hospital admissions, new data shows.

Immedicare is a secure, video-enabled, clinical healthcare service linking care homes to the NHS with 24-hour access to a highly skilled, multidisciplinary clinical team based at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

The service has so far been adopted by 780 UK care homes, and has been associated with a reduction in lengthy hospital stays, reducing pressure on local services and budgets.

In the last three and a half years, 105,144 video consultations were made from care homes who have access to the Immedicare central hub. Of these calls, 20,152 (19 per cent) were related to falls.

Following a falls related consultation with a clinical specialist, 83 per cent of residents remained in their care home for assessment, follow-up and monitoring of their condition.

Mike Padgham, managing director of St Cecilia’s Care Services and chair of the Independent Care Group said: “It always benefits the resident if they can remain in the home rather than be admitted to hospital as an emergency, unless it’s truly necessary, and that’s the underlying principle of the Immedicare service.

“It gives care home staff and residents round-the-clock access to a highly skilled, specialist nursing team who can assess, manage and monitor their condition. We’ve always known this is the best approach for care home residents, but now we have the data to prove it.”

It is estimated that the service has saved the NHS nearly £10 million in less than four years in ambulance conveyancing and hospital admissions related to falls.

If all 15,000 care homes in the UK were to use the service, it is estimated that the NHS could save over £250 million in ambulance conveyances and hospital admissions related to falls over the same period.

Rachel Binks, nurse consultant, Digital and Acute Care, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for Immedicare said: “The clinical risks associated with emergency hospital admissions provide a stark reminder of why we need to wrap specialist clinical care around our elderly residents and keep them out of hospital whenever possible. This has always been the case, but the pandemic has made it a priority and that’s why telemedicine has been adopted at a scale and pace never seen before in this sector.

She adds: “We have decided to share our data now to encourage more commissioners and care home providers to consider the Immedicare service as part of their long-term strategy for providing high quality care. As the data shows, it protects elderly and frail care home residents, as well as protecting local services, so it’s a win for everybody.”

Further information on Immedicare is available here.

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