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24 April 2015
The ‘Hospital@Home’ (H@H)service consists of a team of qualified nurses who visit patients in their homes to provide nursing care, such as intravenous antibiotics, which until recently would only be provided in hospital.
It means patients, such as Eileen Warrall, are able to be discharged from hospital sooner to receive their remaining hospital care at home. Mrs Warrall, 70, from Kempston, was admitted with an ongoing infection and was receiving care in the hospital’s Acute Assessment Unit. After just 24 hours she was reviewed by the H@H team and able to return home to receive her 10-day course of IV antibiotics.
The infection has now cleared and following the completion of her treatment Mrs Warrall commented: “It was an excellent and efficient service with friendly nurses.”
The initiative funded as a pilot scheme by Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) aims to provide more care closer to home, as well as helping to free up hospital beds.
Bedfordshire GP Dr Fran Ross, is the BCCG lead for long term conditions and said:
“The value of the Hospital at Home service has been clearly demonstrated this winter when we have seen our local hospitals come under intense pressure. Providing clinical care at home is better for patients who can avoid an unnecessary hospital stay and it frees up the resources for services that only a hospital can provide for those who really need it.”
Similar schemes in other hospitals around the country have proved very successful and funding has been granted until the end of August, at which point the pilot will be evaluated.
Not only does the service mean that some patients can return to the comforts of their own home sooner, it has also prevented three patients from requiring an admission to hospital in the first place.
Birgit Spring-Morton-Holmes, Team Manager and Lead Nurse for Hospital@Home, said: “Our team works with ward staff on a daily basis to identify patients who are nearing the end of their stay in hospital and may benefit from receiving their remaining hospital care at home.
“Those patients whom we assess as being well enough to return home with our support can then be discharged and we will arrange to visit them as required.
“As the service becomes more embedded, we anticipate that up to 16 patients at any time could soon benefit from our service, creating a ‘virtual ward’.”
The type of nursing care provided by the H@H service include IV antibiotics, anticoagulation treatment and wound reviews, and following its early success the service is now recruiting an additional four nurses to visit patients’ homes.
Colette Marshall, Bedford Hospital Medical Director, said: “Patients don’t want to stay in hospital longer than they have to and it is in their best interests, from a patient safety point of view, for them to return home as soon as they are able. The H@H service helps to facilitate this, as well as preventing hospital admissions in the first place, and we are very pleased with the early success of the pilot.