Special keyrings keep East Staffordshire’s older people out of hospital & independent

A simple new project in East Staffordshire is helping older people stay at home with extra support and avoid unnecessary stays in hospital, thanks to a partnership between health providers in the area.

Virgin Care is working with local care home providers, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust on the project, which is part of the Improving Lives programme.

Easily-identified red key rings with contact details for the East Staffordshire Care Co-ordination Centre are being given to patients who are being cared for by Virgin Care’s community matrons, and it encourages patients to tell paramedics and other health professionals that they are known to the local community health services.

The professional can then make contact with the community services directly, working with them and the patient to decide whether a hospital admission or staying at home with an intensive programme of home visits would be more appropriate and effective.

The service operates round-the-clock and means older people who do not clinically need to be admitted to hospital can stay at home and continue to receive the support they need to become as independent as possible again.

The project also means people known to the community services may be able to come home from hospital sooner, with a package of support from the community nursing team quickly put into place.

Michelle Lee, Managing Director of the East Staffordshire Improving Lives Project at Virgin Care, said: “We are working closely with all of the health services in East Staffordshire to reduce the number of older people admitted to hospital either by identifying and resolving problems before they become serious or by increasing the support we offer in the community.

“This means that people can stay at home or get home sooner and remain as independent as possible for as long as possible – exactly what people told East Staffordshire CCG they wanted from health services.”

Virgin Care was commissioned by NHS East Staffordshire CCG to deliver the Improving Lives programme, after a two year project of speaking to local people, in 2016. Virgin Care oversees services for older people and those living with long term conditions in East Staffordshire sub-contracting services to other providers as well as directly providing community health services like district nursing and rapid response services.

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