Age UK reports that the safety net for people living at home is failing and in urgent need of repair, Ann Taylor, CEO of Hilton Nursing Partners begs to differ as her model of care is specifically designed to support the ever growing ageing population.
The new interim report from Age UK warns that the safety net we expect to be there for us as we age, if we are living at home, has become dangerously weak, with older people living alone in declining health, with no family and friends to support them, at particularly high risk.
Ann comments: “For anyone reading the Age UK article it certainly reads like doom and gloom. Whilst I don’t disagree with the report that states ‘Age UK estimates there are approaching half a million people (465,000) aged over 65 in England living with three or more significant health conditions who are also in need of help with at least three essential daily activities (i.e. care needs), such as getting out of bed, going to the toilet or getting dressed.’ overall nearly half a million is a relatively small figure in the grand scheme of things. The problem is the lack of capacity in joined-up thinking and reluctance to adopt alternative models of care in addressing the ever-changing needs of our ageing population.
“As the report rightly states the lack of appropriate support is piling the pressure on hospitals with emergency admissions having more than doubled in the last 13 years. This is due to the lack of available options available to individuals who perhaps believe they will receive the quickest response by going to A&E. Likewise once a patient is within the hospital setting refer an individual to more suitable services can often be fraught, unavailable, or delayed, the patient then becomes stuck as a Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC) statistic.
Hilton Nursing Partners recognise that once an individual enters the system in this way they are more likely to become dependant as their independence gradually diminishes. This is a negative cycle and can lead to further complications such as anxiety, depression, muscle wastage, and a general sense of vulnerability.
“We believe independence is the overall key to providing that safety net. Vulnerability can come form a number of places, perhaps an illness or loss of capacity to do the things you were once able to do. We have found that by working with medical teams, social services, family and friends, and social care commissioners that a person centred strategy of care and community integration is a solution with very positive outcomes.
To some degree social care is currently geared towards underestimating an individuals’ capacity to care for themselves. The Hilton Nursing Partners philosophy and model of care has proven many times that connecting people to their communities is one of the most important factors in maintaining wellbeing.
“This is more than signposting we assess each individual’s situation to help them help themselves. There may be a huge amount of support within their community that they don’t know about. For instance we will refer to the local Service Directory and discuss with our client which service may be suitable. We attend day service provision, research and interview home care or personal assistant services, but more importantly we speak to neighbours and the local businesses to establish how our client interacts with their community. You’ll be amazed the response once you start talking to people, people always want to help and many offer to remain observant and vigilant reporting to us if anything concerning may happen – this is the safety net. Sometimes all a person needs is a supportive hand and a network they can rely on to help them make their own informed decisions. This is what we do.”
The results speak for themselves. After a recent pilot project with one NHS Trust the commissioner could see significant benefits in helping people avoid acute hospital stays and transfer to residential care. The average hospital stay for the pilot patients was 44.2 days, which implies that the service can reduce delayed discharge days. Most significantly the average cost saving for just five patients was approximately £23,000 increasing by £228 per day. On an annualised basis, this would represent a saving of £86,000. Not to mention the £562 per week average cost of residential care.”
Working with the NHS and Social Care Commissioners Hilton Nursing Partners successfully deliver safe, timely and supportive hospital discharges, patient assessments and patient recovery programmes via nurses, therapists and nurse led personal nursing assistants with a proven track record in freeing hospital beds, as well as reducing re-admissions and on-going social services support.