Targeted training is helping care home staff to reduce the number of avoidable emergency department admissions by preventing falls, recognising clinical deterioration earlier, and monitoring more effectively.
Recognising the benefits to patients, care homes and the wider NHS, the network commissioned a series sessions in the North East, which were provided by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) in early 2017.
The sessions offer a standardised means of identifying and responding to deteriorating or acutely ill patients (using the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) system recommended by the Royal College of Physicians) and focused on preventing falls within the care home setting.
This enables an appropriate level of clinical response and provides a continuous record of the patient’s physiological status.
This common approach can eradicate variation and support better outcomes by aiding recognition of clinical deterioration, standardising acute illness assessment, enabling better communication with other healthcare providers, and informing an appropriate clinical response. Similarly, a consistent approach to dealing with residents who have fallen can improve quality of life and reduce pressure on healthcare services.
So far more than 400 staff from 115 care homes have benefited from the training, with initial monitoring (over a short period) showing a 32% reduction in 999 calls from those homes.
The network is now linking with Health Education England with a view to extending the training to more care home staff in the region.
Falls prevention work carried out for the network by NEAS has won gold at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards, taking top spot in the Most Innovative NHS Education Provider category.
The award recognised the scheme’s success in helping care home staff to reduce A&E admissions by preventing falls, recognising clinical deterioration earlier, and monitoring more effectively.