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live in homecare3 sizechangeOctober 16th

Lynda Gardner, one of the founder members of The Live-In Homecare Hub discusses how live-in homecare benefits elderly patients, as well as easing the enormous burden on NHS A&E departments and reducing bed blocking.  Lynda is also chief officer at Oxford Aunts Care.

It’s a little-known alternative to residential care homes, but more doctors are now recommending live-in homecare as a viable option to elderly patients who need support. The service is available nationwide and involves carers living with an elderly person and being on-hand 24/7. The vast majority of older people in the UK (97 per cent according to recent research by One Poll for Consultus Care), don’t actually want to move into residential care, with what is often an institutional and regimented way of life. Moving to the often unsettling surroundings of a residential care home, especially with conditions such as dementia can be upsetting, depressing and even frightening.

Huge benefits
Live-in homecare is not just about giving essential support such as washing, dressing, preparing meals and help with medication; it provides housekeeping and companionship too. Many carers and nurses are specifically trained to cope with particular conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, MS or palliative care. Clients with pets are also kept together, which provides physical and emotional benefits.

live in homecare1

 

 

 


Bed blocking crisis
Live-in homecare offers a very efficient and effective solution to one of the NHS’s major issues: that of hospital bed blocking. With experienced carers on hand to provide a safe and proactively monitored convalescence environment at home, additionally carers undertake around 85% of the work often conducted by nurses – and often work under the auspices of Macmillan and community nurses, freeing up their time.  Live-in nurses are also available.

Releasing the pressure on A&E
Our ageing population means that the elderly put significant pressure on A&E units. The number of A&E visits in England soared by more than 400,000 so far this financial year - the equivalent of filling an extra nine emergency departments according to The College of Emergency Medicine. Live-in homecare offers a positive way to release this pressure and significantly mitigates the risk of [hospital] readmissions. Patients have their own evolving personal care plans and this ongoing bespoke attention means they’re far less likely to suffer from falls, skin conditions and UTIs or other infections due to early detection from one-to-one supervision and observation.

Given that a third of all people aged over 65 fall each year (over 3 million1) and falls account for 10-25% of ambulance call-outs for people aged 65+ (at an average cost of £115 per call-out), anything that can help lessen the incidence means a real cost saving in human and financial terms.2 Falls represent over half of hospital admissions for accidental injury3 and half of those with hip fracture never regain their former level of function. A live-in carer minimises the likelihood of falls.

Additionally, UTIs are the most common non-respiratory infection in care homes with an incidence rate of up to 50% as environments provide the opportunity for transmission of infection. These infections drive falls, behavioural challenges and deterioration in health, resulting in increased hospital admissions. With one-to-one live-in care at home, especially where help is given with personal hygiene, the risk of UTIs decreases significantly. Staff are trained to identify the symptoms early so that, where they do occur, the correct medical treatment can be sought.

How to offer advice and support
If you are a GP, practice manager or practice nurse asked to give advice to an elderly patient or their family about live-in homecare, then www.stayinmyhome.co.uk is a valuable information resource. Developed by The Live-in Homecare Information Hub - a coalition of 14 leading live-in homecare providers - the site illustrates how, with the right professional support, elderly people can stay in their home, close to family, in familiar surroundings with the pets they love: rather than face a future in residential care without them.

Dr Mark Kinirons, consultant physician and accredited specialist in general and geriatric medicine says the benefits are that: “the care plan is built around the particular needs of the patient. It is reviewed regularly to enable it to adapt.” He has referred cases regularly to The Good Care Group, while Dr. Philip Razzell, who specialises in medical care of elderly people and has referred to Consultus Care, says: “live-in carers and nurses enable elderly folk where possible to stay in their own homes for the rest of their lives in familiar surroundings, where friends and family can visit at any time. In my experience this is the ideal environment for any older person requiring short or long term care.”

If full time care is required, and a person's primary need is a health need, all of their care fees could be paid by the NHS through a little-known funding stream called NHS Continuing Healthcare. It is believed that many people wrongly pay care fees because they don’t know this exists and it can sometimes be complicated to apply.

Article by Lynda Gardner.

Links:

Live-in Homecare website

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