Digital breakthrough pilot supporting people to get the care they need
New digital technology is allowing home care staff to spot the early signs of poor health in elderly people as part of a pilot scheme in Newark and Sherwood. This ensures they get the help they need at an early stage to avoid a crisis situation or hospital admission.
The pilot scheme is being run by local home care provider Fosse Healthcare in partnership with the County Council, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, the East Midlands AHSN, Nottinghamshire Alliance Training Hub and Birdie and is being funded using Better Care funding from the County Council.
Fosse Healthcare staff have been trained to measure people’s health using a digital deterioration and escalation process and toolkit. Their training helps them to recognise what is referred to as ‘soft signs of deterioration’ such as a raised temperature, fatigue or change of habit, which may identify an underlying concern. These soft signs trigger different levels of intervention to ensure the GP or emergency services are notified before the concern becomes a risk.
Melanie Brooks, Corporate Director for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is exciting to hear how technology can support our care providers to spot the signs that someone’s health may be deteriorating and ensure they are getting the healthcare they need to prevent a crisis situation. By identifying these situations at the earliest possible stage, we can ensure that people can continue to live as independently as possible and receive the right level of care, in the right place, at the right time.”
Fosse Healthcare Managing Director, Volt Sacco, explains: “We wanted to understand the implications of developing a system which could be adopted throughout the industry, and used to connect care providers with GPs, emergency services and the NHS to proactively identify and treat ‘soft signs’ of deterioration before they become a larger medical concern.
“We believe that with the right tools and technology we can address potential health risks in the early stages, which we project would have a huge impact on the costs and pressure currently being experienced within the Health & Social Care System. Already, despite the pilot still being in its infancy, the benefits of this new process are apparent, and feedback from participating clients and care staff has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Dr Malte Gerhold, Chief Integrated Care Officer at Birdie: “This project is a powerful example for how digital care technology can enable new ways of collaboration between social and health care professionals and improve the lives of older people in Newark. We believe that home care has immense potential to support the NHS to provide better quality care at home and in the community, and we are excited to be part of this collaboration.”
The pilot scheme was officially launched in Newark and Sherwood on March 10 and will run for up to six months to give the academic partners enough time to undertake their evaluations.