CASE STUDY: How home care technology helped cut hospital stays in Sunderland

All Together Better Sunderland

A partnership that brings together health and social care services across Sunderland to create an integrated ‘out of hospital’ system, has shared how technology has helped transform how patients are monitored and cared for in their own homes.

All Together Better Sunderland launched the ‘Luscii’ app just before lockdown to help people manage their conditions at home, monitor their vital signs, socially connect with their community and speak to a range of social care professionals via chat or video call.

Since then, the app has expanded to support 62 vulnerable residents who suddenly had to shield and has proven to reduce hospital admissions.

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The following case study has been featured in the TSA Insight Report 2020*. Click here to download the publication.

Joy Stevens is 70 and has lived with Bronchiectasis all her life. It makes her lungs more vulnerable to infection and in the last three years she’s been admitted to hospital nine times, totalling 64 inpatient days.

“I lost my husband last year, broke my hip and got bad pneumonia – it’s been an awful time – so when I heard about COVID-19 I panicked because I know it can harm people with respiratory illness,” she says.

But just before lockdown, Joy received a call from her district nurse asking if she’d take part in the pilot of a new healthcare app that supports patients with breathing problems. ‘Luscii’ was developed in the Netherlands where it is used by half of all hospitals.

“I take my blood pressure, oxygen and temperature and put the readings in the iPad,” says Joy. “Last week I had a high temperature and cough and I did my vital signs and called the nurse. She discussed my readings with the doctor and then brought different medication, so I didn’t have to go into hospital.”

In the four months that Joy Stevens has been using Luscii, she hasn’t been admitted to hospital once. “We’re catching the problem before it gets going,” she says.

Joy is now one of 62 people using Luscii under the care of All Together Better Sunderland.

The partnership aims to grow the number of patients using Luscii to 300 over the coming months. But this technology isn’t just about remote healthcare support.

“Luscii also helps with patients’ general health and wellbeing, giving them the option to download apps that can support with healthy eating and connecting with others to reduce loneliness – something that’s particularly relevant during this crisis,” explains Dr Martin Weatherhead, chair of All Together Better.

Patients can use the app to connect to a digital library, smoking cessation services, brain puzzles, meals on wheels, and even their local GP practice.

The wellbeing benefits for Joy have been significant. She explains: “Having the reassurance of the equipment has helped with mental health for me and my daughters. You take an interest in yourself, in looking after your own wellbeing and involving the family. Even my grandson helps me do the readings.”

Outcomes in the Netherlands

Luscii is used by 50% of all hospitals. For those people using it, A&E visits have fallen by 70% and hospital re-admissions by 26% It has achieved a 51% reduction in hospital costs.

Outcomes in Sunderland

There is strong engagement from the 62 patients enrolled on Luscii. In May 2020, a total of 1,813 vital signs readings were submitted by patients and 5% of these flagged red alerts, which resulted in 133 video calls between the community nursing team and patients. It is too early to evaluate the economic outcomes of the project, but All Together Better said it is confident that Luscii will help to cut hospital admissions and bed days as well as A&E attendances and outpatient clinic visits.

*The TSA Insight Report 2020 offers a window into the world of the technology enabled care sector and how it has provided invaluable support to the wider health and care system during the early months of the response phase of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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