Prevent emergency admissions from care homes with dedicated primary care teams, says RCN

Around one in 12 emergency admissions to hospital is for a person living in a care home

Around one in 12 emergency admissions to hospital is for a person living in a care home, report from NHS England and Health Foundation joint initiative reveals

Community nurse visiting a female resident in a care home
Picture: Alamy

Primary care teams focused on preventing avoidable emergency hospital admissions among care home residents should be rolled out nationwide, the RCN has said.

The college was responding to a report from NHS researchers that reveals about four in ten (41%) emergency hospital admissions from care homes in England could be avoided.

The report from the Improvement Analytics Unit, a joint initiative between NHS England and the Health Foundation, highlights admissions for potentially avoidable conditions such as chest infections, pressure ulcers and urinary tract infections.

Prompt assessment and treatment

RCN head of nursing practice Wendy Preston said: ‘What is needed are dedicated primary care teams including advanced practice nurses who can promptly assess and treat residents who fall ill or injure themselves. A few areas currently have such teams, but we need them to be rolled out nationwide.

‘Hospital is not the best place for most frail older people and nurses are often the solution to this problem, despite services not always receiving the correct funding.’

The researchers found almost one in 12 emergency admissions to hospital was for a person living in a care home – an estimated 192,000 each year.

‘Care home staff know their residents’ needs’

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust director of nursing and quality Anna Morgan said investment in training and equipment for care homes could help ressidents avoid hospital admissions. 

‘Care home staff know their residents’ needs better than any other professional. They provide a vital role between the resident and their family and the wider health and care team in the local community,’ she said. ‘With the right support and investment into care homes they would be in a better position to implement these findings.

‘Providing mentorship, supervision, peer support, as well as opening up opportunities for joint training and shared apprenticeship placements, will help to keep residents in their homes with the people who can best support them.’

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January this year, includes commitments to improving NHS support in care homes and to the national roll-out of the Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) framework across England.

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