A new initiative between Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and care homes across the town has seen a significant reduction in the number of people arriving at Royal Bolton Hospital.
The pilot scheme took place between July and October 2023, and encouraged care homes to contact the Trust’s Admission Avoidance Team for patients at risk of urgent hospital admission, instead of emergency ambulance crews.
It forms part of the two-hour urgent community response (UCR) service, a national project to provide older people with fast access to care whilst taking pressure off hospital and ambulance services.
During the trial period, data shows an increase in referrals to the Admission Avoidance Team and a reduction in the number of calls to North West Ambulance Service.
There was also a significant reduction in the number of attendances to the Emergency Department, with figures from one care home recording a fall of 68% and a 65% reduction in the number hospital admissions.
Duncan Mayoh, Clinical Lead for Admission Avoidance at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:
We’re identifying ways of being able to ease pressure off our busy urgent care services by providing support to people out in the community, in the place they call home.
“Care homes in Bolton are now able to reach out to us directly for fast access to urgent care, where our highly-skilled team support those patients without them ever needing to step into the back of an ambulance or through the front door of our Emergency Department.
“If care home staff have concerns and think someone needs admission to hospital then they should contact us.
“This is a local health system working together and at its best by reaching patients before their conditions worsen, ensure they’re receiving excellent care quickly and safely, and freeing up much-needed capacity in other areas.
The Trust is now looking to replicate the initiative across more care homes in Bolton by offering support and working as a system to ensure patients get the best care possible in the place they feel most at home.