Digital health project in Maidstone Care Home cuts hospital admissions by 100 per cent

Contributed by editor on Sep 12, 2019 - 02:25 PM

Pictured, left to right: Mercia Spare, care home resident Ron Denney, aged 92, Libby Clarke and senior healthcare assistant Karolina Faryniarz.

A new digital health project that helps keep care home residents well is being celebrated in the run up to the first World Patient Safety Day.

The trial project, at The Oast Care Home in Plains Avenue, Maidstone has so far resulted in a 100 per cent reduction in hospital admissions, a 35 per cent reduction in 999 calls, a 59 per cent reduction in calls to 111 and has almost halved the need for the home to contact a resident’s GP.

It involves care home staff carrying out simple health checks with residents and recording the results using a Docobo telehealth app. The results are then checked by the Complex Care Team at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) who can see if there is anything out of the ordinary. The daily and very close monitoring means specialists at KCHFT can step in straight away if someone’s health appears to be deteriorating or if there is a concern.

Results could simply indicate that a resident’s medication needed to be changed, or that more regular observations need to be carried out – possibly avoiding calling a GP out or an unnecessary trip to hospital.

The trial, which has been running for three months, has had such impressive results that it is about to be extended to cover more residents and is to be taken to second care home in Maidstone soon.

KCHFT’s Chief Nurse Mercia Spare visited the home in advance of World Patient Safety Day, which takes place on Tuesday, 17 September, to see how the project is keeping people safe.

She said: "The project is having a positive impact on clients and staff and the results speak for themselves.

“The integrated working between our complex care nurses and the care home staff, for the benefit of patient safety and the delivery of high-quality care, is incredibly important to KCHFT and to ensuring we keep people well at home."

Andy Platt, Project Manager, added: “The project is reducing pressures on urgent care services. It also means that the Complex Care Team can focus on patients that need their specialist care the most.”

Care home manager Libby Clarke has welcomed the trial. She said: “The new system has been brilliant and it has made such a difference. We keep a very close eye on patients every day and if there are any concerns the matrons at KCHFT call us straight away. It’s good for our staff to increase their skills and good for our residents too.”

On World Patient Safety Day KCHFT’s chief nurse is also to visit other trust projects that are keeping patients safe. These include a project called Med Savvy which aims to improve the administration of medicines.

Both Med Savvy and the telehealth trial are quality improvement (QI) projects which are taking place at the trust. QI is about looking at what we are doing, seeing if we could do it better and bringing everyone together to redesign the way care is provided.

The trust, which was recently rated as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is committed to improving its services for the benefit of patients, partners and its workforce and has more than 70 QI projects taking place.

The chief nurse will also be finding out more about the work the trust is doing to prevent falls, with a particular focus on adults with learning disabilities.

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