A GP-led enhanced care home scheme in Leeds has reduced the need for unscheduled visits to care homes, with 76% of referrals written by care home staff.
The pilot scheme gives patients regular access to a healthcare professional by scheduling planned visits from a nurse or GP.
Evidence from the programme, which was set up in August 2015 to serve 1,500 residents in 50 care homes, showed that receiving regular visits from a GP has resulted in a 4.7% reduction in A&E attendances and 4.3% fewer emergency hospital admissions.
Dr Keith Miller, a GP in Headingley, Leeds who developed the scheme, said: ‘The GP-led scheme is ensuring better joint working between different healthcare professionals involved in looking after older people living in care homes in the area.
‘Evidence suggests that it’s improving their overall experience of healthcare, as well as transferring new knowledge and skills to care home staff and reducing the need for hospital attendances.
The pilot programme, which also gives patients access to a team of therapists from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, including physiotherapists and a dietician, is being funded by Leeds West CCG until August 2017.
Emma Heeson, project implementation lead for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: ‘Supporting care homes to improve the quality of life for older people is such a privilege. Our scheme enables staff to deliver services when it matters most to the individual and more importantly irrespective of who employs them.
‘There is a huge focus on prevention as opposed to simply treating the problem; with an aspiration for maximising independence and making life not only more comfortable but hopefully more enjoyable.’
The news comes as NHS England is developing a new ‘enhanced health in care homes (EHCH)’ model which would see GP practices around the country paired with care homes with the expectation of carrying out a weekly round.