DOCTORS in Portsmouth are to spearhead a new scheme to reduce the number of vulnerable older people admitted to hospital.
The GP-led Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group is joining forces with charity Age UK and other organisations to help older people maintain their independence.
The aim is to give people better support and therefore keep them out of hospital.
It comes as Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department has been criticised for failing to meet waiting time targets.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, said that older people account for a lot of admissions.
From September 30, 2013 to January 5, 2014, 6,910 people aged 65 and over attended A&E.
Of those 4,665 were admitted to QA as patients.
It is hoped a new ‘integrated care pathway’ – which has already worked successfully as a pilot project in Cornwall – will help keep older people out of hospital.
Innes Richens, the CCG’s chief operating officer, said: ‘In Cornwall, the Age UK integrated care pathway is helping to keep older people healthy and out of hospital and we believe it can make a huge difference to many lives in Portsmouth.
‘People who use our services regularly tell us there is a greater need to join up health and social care services.
‘They want to live independently for as long as possible. Long-term conditions such as angina and dementia account for one in three hospital admissions.
‘People are living longer but fragmentation of the current service-provision results in missed opportunities for early intervention which we think this programme will address.’
GPs will identify patients with long-term conditions who might benefit from the scheme.
They will be visited at their home by a member of the Age UK team, who is either a member of staff or a trained volunteer, and discuss the patient’s hopes and priorities for the care they would like to receive and how this would affect their health and wellbeing, home life and support they get from family, friends or carers.
A PHT spokesman said: ‘We welcome the announcement to improve care pathways for people with long-term conditions, and in particular the frail elderly.
‘Introduction of the pathway could lead to fewer people requiring hospital admission as well as supporting them in maintaining their independence.’