More support for older people in their own homes

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More support for older people in their own homes

Posted on Monday 26th January 2015

 

GPs across Copeland are extending a scheme which has supported more than 700 older people to stay well and independent in their own homes over the past nine months.

The GPs, who are members of Copeland locality, which is part of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, launched the care coordinators scheme in April last year but after an evaluation have extended it with a £210,000 boost.

Seven care coordinators work out of GP practices and initially were supporting people aged over 75. Following the additional funding there will be two extra care coordinators recruited and they will be able to support people aged over 65.

Dr Juliet Rhodes, lead GP for Copeland locality, said: “The scheme is really making a difference to older people. If the GPs think that an older person would benefit from some additional support they ask if they would like to see a care coordinator, who goes out to assess them.

“The type of help they can organise varies. Sometimes it is as simple as arranging for someone to walk their dog or tidy their garden. Or it could mean arranging district nursing services or benefits advice. The care coordinators have also been able to identify simple aids and adaptations, for example in bathrooms to help older people with daily living or arrange for access to day care.”

The scheme was started followed some engagement last year with the patients and carers, GPs and other staff in surgeries, community health and care staff, care homes and community and voluntary sector organisations. A key message during this engagement was that a care coordinators scheme would be beneficial for frail older people and would identify things that could be arranged to help them stay well and independent in their own homes.

An evaluation during autumn last year showed the scheme had been welcomed by older people and also by those who work in local health and care services.

Comments received during the evaluation from some of the older people supported included: ‘this is a lifeline for a lot of people live me with no one to turn to’, ‘we need help like this – keep it going please’ and ‘makes me happy, not sitting at home nearly crying with worry’.

 Dr Rhodes continued: “We are very pleased that the scheme has been so successful and decided to extend it to support people aged over 65. A challenge for us all is that we have an increasing older population, some of whom have complex health conditions and by working across agencies we can provide better support to meet their individual needs to help them stay well and independent. Ultimately this means that not only do we provide better support for older people but that we can make better use of our services , for example by reducing readmissions to hospital and avoiding visits to accident and emergency.”

The scheme was recognised by the Care Quality Commission during a recent visit to a Copeland practice when it commented very positively on the work of the care coordinators.

It is part of a move towards the development of a primary care community which means much closer working across all parts of the NHS and with other partners, such as councils and the community and voluntary sector. This is an important part of the five year plan currently being developed by local health and care services, under the branding together for a healthier future.

Posted on Monday 26th January 2015

 

 
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