Hundreds of North Staffordshire patients have avoided an unnecessary attendance at A&E following the launch of a new UHNM initiative to assess, treat and prescribe for patients in their own home.
The Frailty Falls Response Service, which involves an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Occupational Therapist working alongside West Midlands Ambulance Service to attend low level 999/111 calls, has received almost 700 referrals from the ambulance service since it was launched in January last year. Of these, 84 per cent of patients have been cared for in their own home, instead of being transferred to the Royal Stoke University Hospital A&E.
The Frailty Falls Response Service aims to address if the patient is able to move independently as well as any other social issues that may be affecting the patient so that they can remain at home without the need to be admitted to hospital.
Rob Price, Occupational Therapist, said: "The Falls Response Service was launched between UHNM and WMAS to keep patients, who do not require acute medical attention, in their own home and to avoid an unnecessary A&E attendance. We assess and treat the patient, establish if they are moving independently and if necessary refer to community services.
"Obviously, if the patient needs to come to hospital we ensure they receive the appropriate care in the right setting."
In addition to providing treatment and being able to prescribe the team also has access to Aids for Daily Living (ADL) equipment such as walking frames, frailty consultant support, frailty rapid access clinics, home first services, community beds and other community services.
Ann-Marie Morris, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and UHNM Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care, said: "Ideally we don't want any of our patients to wait to be seen in our Emergency Department, especially those who are old and frail. This response service, providing assessment and treatment for patients in their own homes is proving a success in providing the right care in the right place. This provides a better experience for the patient, avoiding an unnecessary visit to our A&E and helps reduce waiting times for those in our Emergency Department who do need to be seen at hospital."
Nathan Hudson, WMAS Emergency Services Operations Delivery Director, said: "This is a good example of the alternatives that our crews use on a daily basis to provide patients with the best care possible and reduce the pressure on A&E Departments. Enabling more patients to stay in the comfort of their own home, as this scheme does, is clearly beneficial for the patients, their families and ensures they get the treatment they need in a timely manner. WMAS crews utilise our Strategic Capacity Cell (SCC) to assist in finding alternatives to taking a patient to hospital; since its launch in March 2019, the SCC has diverted more than 20,000 patients away from A&E departments."