Preventing Hospitalisation

Preventing Hospitalisation - June 2024

Research shows that most of us would prefer to stay at home as we get older. But it’s not just about preference, staying at home helps with our physical and mental health. Having the right support at home is crucial to enable this to become a reality. Our experienced team of care professionals visit individuals supporting them with specific needs and goals. An important part of the role is the strength of the relationship between our care professional and client. This allows us to identify when an individual’s needs change, so that we can be proactive and ultimately prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.  Going to hospital is often not a positive step for an older person, as the environment reduces independence, mobility and feeling capable. We are therefore committed to keeping people away from that pathway wherever possible.

Here are some of the ways in which our homecare service can help to reduce the risk of your loved one going to hospital:

We manage and understand chronic conditions.

A chronic condition is a long-term condition such as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illnesses. Our care professionals build up a detailed picture of the individual that they support, so that they recognise what is normal for that person in terms of their long-term condition and associated symptoms. This means that if there is any change to the usual baseline, then that can be acted upon without delay. Our care professionals are trained to use our ‘Early Warning Signs’ proforma – a tool for detecting early signs of health deterioration. Signals include mobility changes, changes to food and drink intake or confusion.

We also use a clinical frailty score. This provides information about the level of frailty of an individual, so that we can then put appropriate checks and balances in place to try and pre-empt any potential crisis.

Assistance with medications. If required, we remind clients to take their medications, assist with medication administration and monitor for side effects. Polypharmacy – which refers to five or more medications being taken by one person – is very common amongst our client population. The combination of ageing with taking multiple medications, increases the risk of complications from prescribed drugs. Our care professionals are perfectly placed to ensure that medications are being taken correctly, and if there is any concern, an early alarm will be raised.

Personal care and assistance with functional tasks of daily living.

Our clients may struggle with bathing, washing, dressing and toileting. Having support from our care professionals with these activities, can make a huge difference to someone’s life. Not only their wellbeing, but also through paying attention to hygiene, potential infections and skin complications can be prevented.

Nutrition and hydration.

It should not be underestimated how important it is for older people to be well nourished and hydrated, especially as frailty increases. Our care professionals can assist with cooking healthy meals and ensuring that oral intake is adequate for an individual. Dehydration is a common reason for hospital admission amongst the older population. But with the right support, this can be prevented, and we ensure that our care professionals are equipped to understand how fluid intake impacts on the health of an individual.

Falls prevention.

It is well known that falls are associated with increasing frailty, and they are a frequent cause of hospital admissions. Paying attention to the first fall as a signal event is crucial. If appropriate, our team liaise with other healthcare services to address any escalating concerns. From a practical perspective, our care professionals help to reduce falls through assisting with mobility, assistive devices and ensuring the home environment is safe.

Companionship and mental health support.

Social isolation and loneliness is a reality for many people, and impacts on mental well-being and physical health. Our care professionals are a lifeline for individuals who have no one else they can turn to for support. Having someone to talk to can make a huge difference for people who live on their own, as this can prevent unnecessary worries from escalating into healthcare crises. Our care professionals are also able to recognise when an individual may need medical input with depression or anxiety, so raising the flag for contact with their own GP.

Co-ordination of healthcare services.

With our detailed knowledge of a client and their specific needs, we are often best placed to liaise with different healthcare professionals such. We are not afraid to challenge the status quo if it either prevents a hospital admission or facilitates a quicker hospital discharge. We support clients who are discharged from hospital with wound care, rehabilitation exercises and follow up appointments. Our fundamental concern is ensuring the best outcome for our clients, and therefore our approach is based on care at home wherever possible.

In conclusion, all of us at Home Instead Yeovil, Sherborne & Bridport are passionate about providing the best homecare service so that individuals can stay well at home. We believe that through being proactive such as recognising early warning signs of deterioration and liaising with other healthcare professionals at Yeovil district hospital to share information and ideas, we can prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. This ultimately reduces the burden on the NHS, enabling better utilisation of healthcare resources.