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Care at home is an unwieldy alternative

Patients are living longer, and with age comes increasing chronic disease. These days every effort is made to keep patients at home - it is what the Government wants and what GPs are expected to do. But is it really what our patients or consultants want?

A typical ward round consists of a consultant, a registrar, a nurse and a foundation doctor.

Patients cared for at home get a home round. A typical home round consists of a visit by a GP, practice nurse, district nurse, community matron, social worker, pharmacist, dietician, phlebotomist and an occupational therapist. All visiting at different times.

The GP gets one discharge letter when a patient is discharged from hospital, but may get five to six letters when a patient is discharged from hospital-at-home care.

Which is better and more cost-effective? Some elderly patients are getting so confused as to why so many people are visiting them at home that they wish they could go to hospital!

From Dr Anita Sharma, Oldham, Lancashire

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