The North Cumbria Health and Care System has committed to supporting more people in their own homes and has launched a new campaign to help people understand why health and care services are changing.
The No Place Like Home campaign focuses on the benefits of receiving care in the community and how being at home can help people recover quicker. Health and care services are working closer together to improve the health and wellbeing of people in north Cumbria and keep people out of hospital if they don’t need to be there.
Investment to strengthen community services and support more people out of hospital is underway and around 90 additional health and care roles have been created in the community so far. Eight Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) have been developed in north Cumbria to improve the health and wellbeing of local people and provide more out of hospital care. Health and social care professionals, GPs, the voluntary sector and the community are working as one team to provide more seamless care.
People are living longer but more and more people have several long term health conditions. Too often these lead to hospital stays that could have been avoided, if more support was available in the community.
Prof John Howarth, Deputy Chief Executive at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, explained: “Most people don’t want to be in hospital if they can receive services more locally. By investing in our community services we can support more people in their own homes and help them to stay well. It’s better for individuals and also helps us to make the best use of our limited health and care resources.
“Sometimes a stay in hospital can’t be avoided – our hospitals are absolutely the right place to be for some treatments. But we know that people often recover quicker at home so we’re doing all we can to ensure people are treated in the best place for their needs. For older people in particular, long stays in hospital can lead to worse health outcomes and can increase their long-term care needs. The ICCs are just getting started but they have already helped many people to get home from hospital sooner or avoid a stay altogether.”
In Alston, community hospital beds closed in April 2017, allowing staff to provide a more comprehensive community nursing service to local people. The number of community visits has tripled since the new model was introduced, meaning more people are able to avoid a hospital stay and receive care in their own home.
More is also being done in hospitals to help patients to get home sooner by reducing the risks associated with a stay. For example the new Reach Out service at West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary screens all patients at risk of developing delirium (confusion) and puts preventative steps in place. It has resulted in a 50% reduction in the number of people developing delirium and a reduction of around 2 days in the average length of stay. End PJ Paralysis initiatives, which aim to get more patients up, dressed and moving to prevent deconditioning, have also seen positive results helping people to maintain their independence whilst staying in hospital.