An NHS programme in Somerset has helped patients avoid 7,500 nights in hospital and freed up at least £2 million for other services.
The pioneering ‘Homefirst’ scheme offers patients who are healthy enough, and their families, tailored help to finish therapy at home, with personalised care reducing stays in hospital by up to ten days.
Described by health leaders as ‘a common sense approach’, Homefirst is delivered by specialist teams of staff who have been given additional training in a range of care techniques, so they can do more with patients once they are home, to help them regain independence faster.
As part of the programme, instead of waiting to complete assessments, such as walking the ward, people for whom it’s safe to do so can be discharged home at the right time and get support for important tasks, based on their home and enabling a quicker and happier recovery.
Tim Baverstock, who led the scheme for Somerset County Council, said: “We’ve found that all it can take to avoid a long hospital stay is a frank conversation with the patient and family to learn more about how they can manage at home and their wishes.
“If someone starts to recover they often want to go home and previously paperwork and assessments could have meant waiting weeks. But while the patient waits their mobility and independence reduces and causes frustration – a person over 80 who spends 10 days in hospital loses 10 per cent of muscle mass equivalent to 10 years of ageing. We wanted to bring an end to that.”