Challenges in care homes
It has been reported that emergency admissions in England are particularly high in residential care homes compared to nursing homes. One reason for this is the lack of support residential care home staff have to detect and manage the health needs of their residents within the home resulting in a greater reliance on emergency services.
Once at the emergency department, assessment of residents is often challenging due to the complexity caused by their multiple interacting comorbidities, leading to a high percentage of residents being admitted to hospital for further assessment and care.
Supporting care home staff
To reduce this reliance on emergency services, many NHS organisations have developed dedicated teams to provide clinical support to care homes in their region. As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, the necessity for these services became even more important to maximise hospital capacity and to protect this vulnerable group from COVID-19.
Leveraging remote patient monitoring and telehealth
In north-west London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s care home liaison team (known as the Frailty Team) incorporated Current Health’s solution to support their work during the outbreak.
This team deployed Current Health to remotely monitor the health of residents that they or the care home staff were concerned about. Back at the hospital, the Frailty Team were able to visualise residents’ vital signs data which were continually captured by Current Health’s wearable sensor. Using video call technology built into Current Health’s platform, the Frailty Team also completed remote assessments to understand symptoms and other important information not made obvious through the vitals data.
Collectively, the insight provided by Current Health allowed the Frailty Team to make informed decisions about residents’ care so timely interventions could be delivered in the care home instead of in hospital.
As a consequence, 87% of ED attendances were avoided, minimizing the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating the potential stress caused to the resident by hospitalisation. Furthermore, keeping patients stable and out of hospital, saved the trust an estimated £62,500 in the first three months.
By incorporating Current Health into their care program, the automation of vital sign capture and replacement of certain in-person visits to video call has permitted significant time savings, allowing the team to support more care homes in the region.
With the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, the trust continues to use Current Health in care homes and also plan to integrate remote patient monitoring into early supported discharge pathways for patients suffering from COPD and patients recovering from COVID-19.
To learn more about how this team is providing safe and effective care to elderly patients in the community, download the full case study here.