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BBC Radio 4 to feature innovative East Lancashire Care Homes

Care Homes in East Lancashire came under the spotlight this week when the BBC visited to profile the innovative work that they are doing to ensure care home residents receive the best possible care, working in partnership with the NHS.

BBC’s Radio 4 will be featuring two innovative care home schemes being used for the benefit of care home residents by care homes in East Lancashire. These are telemedicine and the red bag project. These schemes are part of the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard which is being led by NHS East Lancashire CCG, in partnership with care homes and Airedale Hospital. The aim is to support the delivery of high quality, efficient and consistent services and care to residents in care homes or supportive living.

Two East Lancashire care homes will be featured in the BBC Radio 4 programme: Andrew Smith House in Nelson, and Altham Care Home in Burnley Road, Clayton le Moors. These care homes like other homes in East Lancashire are working with NHS East Lancashire to improve care in care homes and between hospitals, care homes and GP practices and other services.

Jaymes Bell, Manager, Andrew Smith House said:

“What an honour it was to be involved in BBC Radio 4’s interviews featuring the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard. Providing person-centred, compassionate care is at the heart of what we do. Here at Stocks Hall Nursing & Care Group we have seen real evidence of the impact of improved quality of care.

Telemedicine is becoming a vital part of healthcare and has certainly provided people living at the Home with an important level of support and comfort.

These models are the foundations for transformation across East Lancashire, we feel proud to be involved in this innovative pilot which has positively improved people’s experience of care.”

Paul Winterbottom Registered Home Manager Altham Care added:

“Altham Care Home was one of the first care homes to trial telemedicine with ‘IMMEDICARE” and it has proved itself to be a valuable tool. It has helped us to reduce the number of 999 calls by having a direct link via a webcam to Airdale Hospital when it is needed. The knock on effect is that our service users receive much quicker emergency attention when it is needed. We have fewer attendances at A&E and few hospital admissions.

The process is much easier for our service user, who does not have the stressful journey to the hospital and long waits at A&E. We have almost immediate contact with fully qualified operators, who can determine the most effective treatment, should that be just to monitor them or arrange an ambulance to take them to hospital.”

The telemedicine project breaks new ground in the way it provides expert clinical consultations for a range of conditions, such as chest infections, over a secure and high-quality video link. The innovation mirrors the technology used by NASA to ensure the health and wellbeing of its astronauts, such as Tim Peake, as they orbit Earth.

Adele Thornburn, Nursing and Quality Manager/ Care Home Vanguard Programme Manager/East Lancashire CCG, said:

“Our aim as a Vanguard is to enhance health in care homes. There are many ways that we are doing this. We are working in partnership with the many care homes in our area to support them and share good practice. For example, when a hospital admission is necessary it can be a bit of an upheaval for care home residents. They and their relatives can become quite anxious about this and they have told us that they worry that important information and possessions may get lost or mislaid in transit. The Red Bag is a simple but effective way of avoiding this as well as improving the quality of the experience for everyone concerned. We’ve produced a helpful film about it which people can see at: http://eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/patient-information/loc...

Rachel Binks, Telemedicine (Airedale), Clinical Lead, Airedale Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Telemedicine is creating real improvements for care home residents and staff, as well as the wider NHS. We have found that by using telemedicine, care home residents and staff are feeling more in control and we are witnessing a reduction in the number of unnecessary hospital attendances, GP visits, and ambulance journeys. With approaching 100 nursing and residential homes in East Lancashire all now linked directly to specialist nurses in the digital care hub at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust near Keighley, the benefit to the NHS, care homes and residents is enormous”.

Hannah Johnson Registered Home Manager at Castleford Care added:

“We currently use telemedicine at Castleford regularly. It is mainly used out of hours or at weekends or if the manager on duty is unsure if we need to get out a GP. Telemedicine is used if a resident has had a fall, presenting with Urinary Tract infections or is just generally not themselves or presenting as unwell. The nurses will organise an ambulance if necessary or for a GP to visit the home. Telemedicine is a great service and is very beneficial to us and also to GP's in our local area.

Castleford has been part of the Red Bag pilot for several months now. The Red Bag is used if a resident gets admitted into hospital; it allows all of their belongings to go with them in one bag. Items in the bag include Resident Assessment Form, Support Plan, Care Escalation Record, This is me / One page profile, Current MAR Charts and clothing. We have found the red bag to be very useful as it keeps everything together for the resident.”

Closer to home, its aim is to improve the health of older people by helping them to stay in the comfort of their own residence wherever possible - while making best use of GP and emergency facilities.

Retaining eye-to-eye contact with the patients and their carers throughout the remote consultation, the 20-strong hospital team provide round-the-clock diagnosis and expert opinion as and when it is needed 24/7. The team includes former paramedics as well as specialists in dementia.

The red bag project describes a distinctive red bag which accompanies care home patients from their care home to hospital and back again, if they are admitted to hospital. The red bag is a convenient and portable way of ensuring that all the necessary documents and personal items accompany the care home resident and follows them from admission, during their hospital stay, and then following discharge, back to the care home.