THE number of calls care homes are making to the emergency services has dropped by more than a third thanks to a pilot project.
Twenty care homes in Gosport, Fareham and Havant have taken part in the scheme run by Southern Health Foundation Trust and South Central Ambulance Service to reduce the number of 999 calls they are making.
It has had a very positive impact not only on the residents but also to the staff who support themJanine Harriman
A team from Southern Health went into the care homes to analyse the reasons for calling the emergency services.
Figures recently revealed by the trust showed the scheme has seen the number of calls to the emergency services reduced since it was implemented last November.
Between July 2015 and September 2015, 518 calls were made. But one year later and 10 months after the scheme started, the number of 999 calls made between July this year and September was 374.
The number of care home residents taken to hospital also reduced from 264 between July 2015 and September 2015 to 222 between the same months a year later.
During the same time periods, care homes not in the pilot saw an increase in residents taken to hospital.
Care home staff received training on fall prevention, seating positions, pressure ulcers, urinary infections, hydration and nutrition.
Janine Harriman, community matron for the Southern Health care homes team, said: ‘By working more closely with care homes we have been able to better understand the issues and work with them to provide training and offer support.
‘It’s had a very positive impact not only on the residents but also to the staff who support them.’
Terri Gamble, a demand practitioner paramedic from Scas, said communication was key.
‘The way forward is communication and we have achieved this not only as a team of professionals but in the delivery of our work,’ she said.
‘This has had a significant impact on the reduction of 999 calls and the more appropriate use of 111.’
The project is part of a Better Local Care scheme in Hampshire which looks to simplify access to healthcare.
It is also about encouraging services to work together.
CARE HOME STAFF ARE FULL OF PRAISE FOR 999 SCHEME
THE manager of a care home involved in a pilot to reduce 999 calls has welcomed the project.
Brook Lane Rest Home in Sarisbury Green is involved in the pilot by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and is delighted with the impact it has had not only on the residents, but also on staff.
Like many other homes, they previously relied on calling 999 for emergency help,
Manager Emma Dale said: ‘Having an occupational therapist help us and give us advice has made such a difference.
‘They understand what we are trying to achieve and it gives us a way of doing things differently.’
Plans to evaluate the pilot are under way with the prospect of extending it to more care homes.
Gosport GP Dr Donal Collins praised the project.
He said: ‘This is exactly what the Better Local Care ethos is about, recognising an issue in the way healthcare is delivered or used, and looking a new smarter ways of delivering it. This pilot has benefited the lives of those living in care homes.’