New service for frail elderly aims to reduce hospital admissions

New service for frail elderly aims to reduce hospital admissions

An innovative Rapid Response and Treatment service for care home residents is currently being piloted in Berkshire West. It aims to avoid hospital admissions for our most vulnerable citizens.

Maureen, a resident of Hungerford Care Home, was one of the first people to benefit from the new service. A chest infection had led to breathing difficulties for Maureen and the care home staff were concerned about potential health complications.

“I was getting very out of breath” says Maureen. “The GP came to see me and wanted me to go to hospital, but I don’t like hospitals. I worry that I’d never come out!” The new Rapid Response and Treatment (RRaT) service meant that Maureen was instead able to stay at the home for the majority of her treatment and avoid an overnight hospital stay.

“The specialist nurse came to see me,” continues Maureen, “she talked me through everything about my breathlessness. She came every day and did my blood pressure and blood tests. When I had to have my chest x-ray, I was in and out very quickly. The hospital had everything ready for me.”

In the past when Maureen’s condition deteriorated, she would be seen by the GP and then attend hospital for tests. It was a drawn out process that could often result in an overnight stay in hospital for Maureen. The new RRaT service means that this is no longer necessary.

The RRaT service is currently in pilot phase and will inform a wider care homes programme in future. Funded by the Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham Better Care Fund’s and part of the Frail Elderly Pathway programme in Berkshire West, the programme is jointly led by two senior NHS and local authority leaders; Fiona Slevin-Brown and Stuart Rowbotham.

“The Better Care Fund is all about delivering better care and greater efficiencies through more integrated services for older and disabled people” says Rowbotham. “By moving away from separate services we can focus on the needs of an individual person and their family.”

“The Frail Elderly Pathway programme will lead to much easier ways for people to navigate the health and social care services they need,” concludes Fiona Slevin-Brown. “It also generates the efficiencies needed to support future demand on services. We’re excited about the difference RRaT is already making for care home residents and staff alike.”


Notes to editors:

  • Pictures are available and free to use in connection with this story
    o Maureen
    o Mihaela, Nurse, Hungerford Care Home
  • The RRaT pilot is funded by the Better Care Fund which is a single, local NHS and local authority budget.
  • The Better Care Fund aims to deliver better care and greater efficiencies through more integrated services for older and disabled people. Further information is available here
  • Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for planning, designing and paying for NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services. Working with NHS England, this now includes planning GP services.
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