Caption: Nurse Rois Porter with her patient Mr Patel
BBC One placed the spotlight on a home care service in London during this week’s episode of Inside Out London, reporting on how it is easing winter pressures on the NHS and saving millions of pounds a year.
Earlier this month, the government announced that over the next 10 years it will boost investment in NHS community care, with the aim of benefiting patients, reducing pressures on hospitals and saving money.
To find out what these services will look like, presenter Sean Fletcher visited the NHS rapid response team in Camden, which saved the NHS nearly £2.5 million last year, avoiding hundreds of hospital visits by treating the elderly and vulnerable patients in their own homes.
During his report, Mr Fletcher spoke to therapy team lead Gareth Turner, who has the challenging job of coordinating care for each new patient.
“There has been a recent report that shows that a 10 day stay in hospital can equate to about 10 years of muscle wasting for a patient. So if you are in your 80s or 90s, that’s going to have a massive impact on your mobility and your function at home,” Mr Turner said.
Referrals come direct from GPS, carers and the London Ambulance Service (LAS). These partnerships are proving crucial in reducing hospital admissions.
Jack Bromley, paramedic with LAS said: “For me as a paramedic, if we go to a patient, we’ve assessed them and we don’t think they need to go to hospital, it gives us another safety net to treat the patient and to make sure that they get the best care in the community.”
Mr Turner said: “Rapid response teams exist across all of London, but not all have the links in with the ambulance service that we do.”
During the programme, the LAS refers an elderly patient who is registered blind and has mobility issues. He had been spiking a temperature and was unable to get out of bed.
Within minutes of the call, occupational therapist Rachel Brealey is dispatched.
Later, Ms Brealey is with 89 year old Mr Patel, helping him get out of bed. She is then joined by Rois Porter, a nurse from the team, who measures his oxygen levels and hear rate and checks him temperature.
Ms Porter said: “With him being blind as well, it will be quite difficult for him. He knows this environment, he knows how to get about so it would be best for him to stay at home and we can facilitate that by putting in that extra care.”
Camden’s rapid response service not only benefits patients, but offers value for money.
Mr Turner told Inside Out London: “We estimate that a hospital admission, just for one day, costs about £3,000. That’s going through the emergency department then being admitted to a ward. On average, the length of stay with rapid response costs about £800, so the savings are enormous.”