Better community care ‘could help prevent 41% of A&E admissions’

25 Jul 19

Potentially avoidable ailments like chest infections, pressure sores and urinary tract infections accounted for 41% of hospital admissions in England in 2016-17.

This is according to joint research by NHS England and the Health Foundation think-tank released today, which suggested further improvement of community care would reduce this pressure on the NHS. 

The analysis, by the jointly run Improvement Analytics Unit, also found that one in 12 emergency admissions are for people in care homes - an estimated 192,000 each year. This makes up 7.9% of the entire number of emergency admissions. 

The Health Foundation also analysed four “vanguard initiatives”, in which the NHS worked with care homes to improve community care, and found “encouraging results”. 

In three of the four sites, potentially avoidable admissions decreased by 27%, overall emergency admissions reduced by 23% and A&E visit from care home residents fell by 29%. 

These results were achieved through up skilling care home staff, ensuring residents have regular access to the same GP and encouraging better working between NHS and care home staff, the foundation said. 

Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, said: “Reducing avoidable emergency admissions and A&E attendances is good for residents and will help reduce pressure on the NHS. 

“Our evaluations show that by increasing NHS support and improving partnership working with care homes it is possible to reduce emergency admission to hospital and A&E visits among care home residents and local sites have made good progress on integrating services, despite real pressures in social care.” 

The type of staff in place has an impact with around 32% more A&E attendances from residential care homes than from nursing homes, where residents receive inhouse nursing care. 

Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health at NHS England, said: “People want to know their mum or granddad is being properly looked after and helping them to live well and with the best possible quality of life is key to that.”

Burns added that the vanguard areas had made a “huge difference” to residents’ health. 

Official figures earlier this month showed the worst performance of A&Es in England since records began.  

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.  

On Monday night, the government published its prevention green paperwhich seeks to reduce the number of years people spend in poor health. 

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