Home care services could save NHS millions, says report

NHS providers could save around £120 million by increasing the use of clinical home care, according to a report

NHS providers could save around £120 million by increasing the use of clinical home care, according to a report.

Patients at home received care similar to that within a hospital. Picture: IStock

Home care, including administration of intravenous (IV) drugs and wound care, provided by company Healthcare at Home (HaH) was compared with care provided solely in NHS hospitals for the study.

The There’s No Place Like Home report found that if every acute trust in England used home care to the same extent as the four NHS trusts studied, 500,000 bed days in NHS hospitals could be saved annually.

This would save at least £120 million, equating to 21% of English NHS providers’ predicted deficit for 2016/17, the report said.

Similar care 

The study analysed records from four NHS trusts with 9,346 patients, cared for in their homes by HaH between 2012-2016.

They received care similar to that within a hospital, including administration of IV drugs, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Nurse tasks within the home care team include clinical observations, cannulation and IV administration, according to HaH clinical director Sir Jonathan Asbridge, who was named the Nursing and Midwifery Council's inaugural president.

Professor Asbridge said nurses were also involved in Skype conversations to update consultants at the relevant trust hospitals about a patient’s condition.

Bed days saved 

The study used anonymised patient data from national hospital episode records to match the home care patients with patients who only received care in NHS hospitals.

They were matched on demographic data, including age and sex. A total of 4.2 million hospital inpatient stays were analysed.

The researchers found 5,164 bed days were saved as the home care patients spent less time under the trust’s care.

An estimated 62,000 inpatient bed days were also freed up because of the home care.

Better at home 

Professor Asbridge said home care patients did not have to wait to see a consultant or have a social care package set up to finish their care period.

‘When you go home, you feel better by going home,’ he said. 

‘You start doing little things that you wouldn’t be doing on the ward. You push yourself that little bit more.’

Further information

There’s No Place Like Home report